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Cumberland expects downtown corner to THRIVE soon

Beautification work on 2nd and Dunsmuir to happen over summer
Cumberland hopes a beautification project will attract a few more people to a downtown intersection. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Cumberland is hoping to move pedestrian traffic a little farther along Dunsmuir Avenue, specifically to one intersection.

The Cumberland Business Association (CBA) has been working with the village on a beautification plan called THRIVE, though the plan now is to scale back work a little.

“It was quite a large-scale project,” village economic development officer Kaelin Chambers said at a recent council meeting. “It focuses on the intersection of 2nd and Dunsmuir.”

The latest plan calls for murals and some paint on the sidewalk, parklets or rest areas that can provide some shade, benches, street flags and some kind of statue or sculpture in the area. There is also a hope to include lighting, though there are some questions around access. The main goal is to provide people with more reasons to check out more of Cumberland’s main business street.

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One change that will scale down the project is to add broad colour to the sidewalks rather than murals. Chambers noted a few reasons for this, including time constraints.

“It was very hard to maintain the level of detail on the sidewalk,” he said.

Another consideration was safety as intricate details might obscure imperfections in the sidewalk surface more than simple colour would.

The plan is to paint the murals on metal panels for each of the four corners. These could be relocated at the site, in light of the fact that some properties will be undergoing redevelopment.

There is also a plan for some kind statue or sculpture, one that could possibly be interactive, and which could revolve around the theme of cycling in the community. However, there are still questions about where it will be located at the site.

Chambers said four artists have been identified for the corners of the intersection. He added the CBA is working with the museum on themes that might include elements such as heritage or nature.

“There’s no designs yet. It’s in minds of the artists,” he said.

The project has been spurred on by a beautification grant from the Island Coastal Economic Trust for up to $50,000. Since the item last appeared before council, the village had revisited the scope of the project for various reasons, including some changes in representation at the CBA.

At the June 27 meeting, council approved a motion covering the scope of the THRIVE project as well as to have village staff work with the CBA on implementation, which includes developing an operational agreement. The motion also authorizes the chief administrative officer to execute the agreement.

Members of council liked some of the new changes, such as moving the murals on to panels and the sculpture.

“I think the original proposal had some things that were untenable,” said Coun. Jesse Ketler.

The project is expected to be completed in the coming months, with the hope of an unveiling for September.

“You will see things happen throughout the summer,” Chambers said.

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