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City invites feedback on designs for Victoriaville redevelopment

The city will look for input on plans to redevelop Victoria Avenue at open houses on Aug. 9 and 10.

THUNDER BAY – Residents will get a peek at two potential designs for the future of the Victoriaville area, and the chance to share their thoughts, at two open houses next week.

The feedback will help inform the city’s plans to reopen Victoria Avenue to traffic after the demolition of the mall in 2024.

Those plans include closing the section of Syndicate Avenue leading into the mall to create a public plaza.

The city will host an open house Tuesday from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Syndicate Avenue Parkette along Justice Avenue, and another on Wednesday from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Thunder Bay Country Market, which is being held at the Moose Hall on Fort William Road.

Residents can view design concepts and speak with city staff and representatives from consultants KGS Group and Scatliff Miller Murray at the events.

The open houses will encourage feedback on two specific designs under consideration by the city.

Stakeholders in the Victoriaville area, including business and property owners, have already taken part in consultations on the plans, the city said.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help reshape a portion of downtown Fort William,” said Joel DePeuter, the city’s director of development services. “Input from the public will help us determine how the street can be designed to encourage businesses, visitors and the public to best use the redeveloped outdoor space.”

More information on the project is available at the city’s Get Involved website.

Work is set to span more than two years, with reconstruction of Victoria Avenue projected for completion in late 2025.

City council awarded a contract for demolition work on the structure earlier this year.

Council voted unanimously to demolish the aging, money-losing structure in 2020, hoping the move will help revitalize the city’s south core, encouraging more foot and vehicle traffic to area businesses and supporting more public events.

The complex demolition work on the structure, along with redevelopment of Victoria Avenue, is estimated to cost about $11.5 million, though that price tag could grow depending on the scale of redevelopment designs.

The city has projected those costs will be made up for after about a decade, by taking the mall’s annual operating losses of around $800,000 a year off the city’s books.

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