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Sod is turned for Dewdney Ave. revitalization

$32 million, two year construction project set to begin starting April 28.
Minister Don McMorris, Leasa Gibbons of the Warehouse District BID, and Mayor Sandra Masters turn the sod to mark the start of the Dewdney Avenue revitalization project.

REGINA - The sod has been turned to officially begin Regina’s $32 million, two year revitalization project of Dewdney Avenue.

Officials including Mayor Sandra Masters, Minister of Government Relations Don McMorris, and Leasa Gibbons, Executive Director of the Warehouse District BID, placed the shovels in the ground to mark the start of the long awaited project that has been in the works for several years. 

The plan, according to the city’s news release, is to transform Dewdney Avenue between Albert Street and Broad Street to a “more aesthetically pleasing and vibrant corridor for the public to enjoy with improved pedestrian and public safety.”

“For our business to not only survive, but thrive, we need this investment in infrastructure to transform this traffic corridor into a main street,” said Gibbons. “And that’s going to have a generational impact for a city that most other cities are frankly dying for. They would love to have this happen in their city. so we’re very thankful for it. It’s going to be an interesting two years as businesses look to thrive through construction, but it’s a huge project for the Warehouse District.”

The city, province and federal government have all contributed funding to the Dewdney Ave. project, with each level of government in for $11 million. 

It is just part of the overall $64 million “The Yards” Railyard Renewal Project, funded by the three levels of government to revitalize that whole area.

Masters said the land itself was purchased over a decade ago and the funding was announced about a half-dozen years ago. “So to actually have the plan approved and all of the engineering and design work done so that Dewdney Avenue can go, we can design it to be more commensurate with what you would expect with kind of a cool warehouse neighborhood. This is an exceptional neighbourhood in our city, in our core. Connectivity to downtown is massively important. And so to have Dewdney Avenue go so that a couple years from now the Yards could be whatever that iteration looks like, we’ll be ready to go with the services necessary and built.”

As for what people can expect once all the work is done, Masters said the yards was intended to be a mixed used neighborhood. 

“There was a commitment to residential on site, to business, potentially institutional, public space for a park… we have residents that live in the warehouse district and you’ll notice there’s not a ton of green space, so we want to create green space here. There is still potential for some type of recreational facility, but that hasn’t been fully decided yet. I think there will be an interest in going to market in a couple years to understand what folks think can be built here.”


What to expect during the construction period

For residents, it will mean considerable adjustment and noticeable changes as work begins along Dewdney Ave. within the Warehouse District. Kurtis Doney, Deputy City Manager for Facilities, said there will be significant construction happening. 

“The first year is going to be focussing on underground infrastructure, replacing water mains, sewer mains, so significant construction. Next year will be the surface works, so we’ll be doing the paving and the beautification of the street. And so there will be road closures and lane restrictions, but we’re really looking forward to getting this project going.”

There are water mains over 100 years old underneath Dewdney Ave. that will be replaced. The idea is to accommodate future growth and greater population density in that area.

“It’s really important when we’re doing a project that we’re looking to the future and so the underground pipes will be sized to accommodate the future yards here, and any existing development in the warehouse district,” Doney said.

Phase one is to begin construction April 28 when the digging starts on the road. Motorists can expect lane restrictions between Albert and Broad Streets starting that week.

The construction will impact parking along Dewdney Ave., but there will be parking on the north-south streets within the Warehouse District and parking will be made available on the Yards site, with access and crosswalks set up to access this parking site at Scarth Street and Hamilton Street. Transit service along Dewdney will be redirected to 8th Avenue during the construction period.

There is concern about the impacts to businesses located in the Warehouse District during the construction and road closure. Masters said there will be a communications plan rolled out to issue a call out to Regina residents to support businesses in the Warehouse District and let them know they are open for business. The Warehouse District also has plans to promote and get the word out.

“It really relies on the rest of the community to support those businesses to make sure they do make it through construction,” said Gibbons. “So of course we will have all the bells and whistles in terms of marketing campaigns, we’lll tell people how to navigate the Warehouse District, but folks have to make that choice that these businesses are important to them and they’re going to drive through the construction to come and visit.”