Progress continues to flow for a downtown riverfront redevelopment project.
Members of London’s civic works committee signed off on giving Jacobs Engineering another $400,000 to complete a One River environmental assessment, which is looking into the impact of the Back to the River project, the decommissioning of the Springbank dam, and river management efforts.
Project manager Ashley Rammeloo says this way, the city is cashing in on cost savings because each project has “much of the same environmental requirements.”
Jacobs Engineering has already received more than $600,000 for starting the environmental assessment work.
The Back to the River project would reshape part of the city’s core, including an open event plaza, a pedestrian bridge and scenic outlooks along a five-kilometre stretch of the Thames River.
One of its elements, a boardwalk dubbed “The Ribbon,” raised concerns from Coun. Paul Hubert.
“That came forward, anticipating a certain level of water and as you know, at certain times of the year, it’s more mudflat than it is a river. How do we work that out? Because it has to be attractive,” he said.
Staff replied that the firm who submitted the winning design, a team of Denver-based Civitas and London’s Stantec, believed it could adapt that area with proper water levels in mind, all while maintaining its vision for the project.
Hubert also urged staff and councillors to consider that the community engagement phase of the Back to the River project may get drowned out by the upcoming municipal election.
“You’re going to be fighting for attention with, I don’t know, 60, 70, other candidates fighting for air-time,” he explained.
“Somehow, we have to figure out how we’re going to do that, so there’s the appropriate community engagement.”
The full council will have a final say on funding the rest of the environmental assessment at an upcoming meeting.
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.