Regional Rundown: An Invermere overview: from centre to cenotaph

In the middle of August, people will begin to see some activity at the cenotaph.

Things have been pretty busy in Invermere and the Columbia Valley. Recently, the splash park at Kinsmen Beach opened. This project was spearheaded by the Invermere Rotary Club and also received widespread community support and donations. So far it seems like little kids and big kids (parents) are loving it!

Design and concept planning around the new multi-use centre is continuing, and we have decided to focus on the main hall and multi-purpose rooms for the first phase, while proceeding to design and plan the second phase, which will include library and fitness centre space. We are hopeful that the old high school site can be demolished as early as this fall.

Invermere has been working with Urban Systems to do a targeted review and update to our Official Community Plan (OCP) and to align our Integrated Sustainability Plan into the OCP. So far the public participation and engagement has been very positive and well received, and we look forward to bringing back information for further public input soon. Recently, people will have noticed new parking alignments for the Kinsmen Beach parking lot and the Lake View parking lot (behind the liquor store). These alignments are being done as a test to see how they work, and also to try to fit more parking into existing parking lots. We have also recently installed some additional “way-finding” signage to help to direct visitors to public washrooms and parking. We also had a portion of 6th Avenue paved because of the condition of the road and also to help to accommodate the Invermere Farmer’s Market. And there will be a significant amount of paving occurring within Castle Rock this summer, as Invermere spends what remains of securities posted by the previous developer.

In the middle of August, people will begin to see some activity at the cenotaph. The park will be expanded to the south, with a portion of one-way road by the side of the Toby Theatre being closed and converted to expanded park space with a central plaza feel. The road to the south of The Book Bar (12th Street) will be widened to make it two-lane. Unfortunately, because of the condition of the tree, the Russian Olive tree will need to be removed. This is something that this and the previous council has known was coming, and we have extended and delayed on this for as long as possible. We are all going to be very sad to see the tree gone, but we will be replacing it with a large tree, and are planning to have the wood from the Russian Olive used for public furniture. Most of the work, especially temporary closure of roads, will not happen until the middle of September. We are hoping that most of the project will be finished by the end of October, but there will be some portions that will need to be finished in the spring of 2015.

Gerry Taft is mayor of the District of Invermere and a Regional District of East Kootenay director for the Columbia Valley. He can be reached at .