With the leaves falling and the sun warming our sunny little piece of Kensington, it reminds me I had intended to write a most sincere letter of thanks as the BRZ Streetscape Chair and as a landlord in the area to those involved in our construction in the area.
With these first few weeks of fall we see the City construction crews working on the last few blocks of sidewalk to end off a very busy summer with a much-needed face-lift in our shopping district. Trees and streetlights have been replaced, new underground utilities installed, sidewalks poured, new furniture installed, all in a precious few months and with much professionalism and consideration by the construction crews. Thousands of pedestrians have been guided and guarded through the sites to maintain access for the small businesses in the area and, although massively disruptive, the overall impact has been mitigated where ever possible.
As a landlord I carefully watched over the work on our specific little corner of Kensington and saw the impact on my tenants and businesses. Overall, issues were dealt with quickly and in-person by onsite workers in a friendly manner. Pedestrians were shepherded through dangerous terrain and temporary sidewalks were carefully placed whenever possible. Sure there were grumblings, sure there were issues, but moreover there was cooperation and helpfulness.
I would personally like to thank and give public appreciation to:
- Andrew Colvin, City of Calgary Construction Manager — Your quick smile and even quicker problem-solving was impressive. Your water-off-a-duck’s back approach was inspiring, while your responsive and caring attitude were perfect for such a busy project.
- Hatem Kamis, Project Manager for ALSA Construction — You did an excellent job and I was extremely impressed with the consistent quality and speed of this project. You were visible and available on-site daily and never more than a text away.
- Annie Mac Innes, Kensington BRZ, Executive Director — You found the funding, envisioned the project, made the pitch and changed our entire streetscape without cost to our businesses! Your insight, tenacity and fortitude through all of this created a foundation of trust for our businesses and got us through this with as few hiccups as possible. Thank you, always, for your tireless and unending passion for this work and this area.
- Druh Farrell, Councillor — Your support on this project was invaluable. Your walk-abouts and follow-up were always helpful, it was so much easier knowing you ‘had our back’ through all of this.
As the BRZ Streetscape Chair for this project, I spent hundreds of hours in meetings with our Executive Director and City department representatives designing and planning the streetscape changes and negotiating, discussing (and sometimes demanding) construction considerations from the City on this project. This first hand knowledge let me see that considerations for construction in an active, pedestrian-heavy setting was a challenging requirement for the City and contractor and I feel they have adapted well. Much has been learned and much of that knowledge will be applied in the next busy area they undertake to renew.
As is so often the case, Kensington has lead the way with an important project. I am proud of our little corner of Calgary and I look forward to its continued success. Now that this face-lift is complete, business is getting back to “normal” and planning has started for Halloween and Christmas in Kensington. We do hope you will join us, and maybe look around for a moment and appreciate our new sidewalks and streetscape!