FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Option A was picked by Council for the building materials and style of the Festival Plaza Structure.
Option A was chosen, as Council members felt the building was more attractive being that this will be used and seen as a showcase structure for the City of Fort St. John. Option B was referred to by a couple of Council members several times as looking like a bus depot.
A couple of requests by Council Members for Option A included a different roof line to increase light and possibly using a mix of Kalwall in the roofing material to provide more light in the building. Council suggested pushing the main interior wall out by 10 more feet to give vendors more interior movement space for events.
The discussion during Council was to fine-tune the design and building options for the actual Structure, although some new aspects were shared by John Buchko, Principal, EDS Group Inc.
The presentation unveiled a tribute to the Peace River by highlighting and featuring the river through the plaza with the use of a coloured pattern in the flooring materials. There was also a focus to lighting options by use of fire features and obliques. These would be controlled by the City and could be used during events to showcase the space with different coloured lights that could point beams of light towards the sky in a teepee formation.
Buchko did not want to get too far into discussing fine details, to confuse the decision making that was being presented at the meeting and shared steps that have been considered for the future use of the space. These additional details would support the community that uses the space, such as a food safe wash station at the washroom for food handlers and the inclusion of couplers to gas lines so BBQ’s could possibly be run for larger events.
Other considerations shared for the plaza was making sure all edges and curbs were rolled to ensure ease of access to all people including those in wheelchairs and strollers. The washroom was upgraded from two to a four stall and being aware of keeping the space open and visible to be safe and inviting.
Included in choosing the Option A structure was a request for an additional .5 full-time staff for maintenance and operations of the Festival Plaza site and one additional full-time programming staff. Council members sought clarity from the City Manager as to why this staffing was required. The City Manager explained that there would be additional stress on the current staff to maintain the new facility and that the employment of the additional staff is to help pool and facilitate all the facilities the City cares for.
The next Council update for the Plaza will be in February with the hopes to start project tendering in March 2019 and begin construction in April with completion in September 2019.