Work on McBurney Lane is moving toward completion, but the revamped and revitalized public plaza in downtown Langley City still needs one or two more finishing touches before it is officially unveiled.
“We’re still waiting for some landscaping and for power from B.C. Hydro, and then we should be in a position to open,” said City of Langley CAO Francis Cheung last week.
The official opening of the plaza will likely take place within the next month, he added.
The intent had been for the redesigned plaza to be open in June, in time to be used for several events scheduled throughout the summer, but construction fell a few months behind, explained Cheung.
The biggest issue was one of space, he said.
Because the plaza and the lane to the south of it are bordered on two sides by existing buildings, the number of people and the amount and size of equipment able to work at one time were limited.
Rather than work concurrently on the projects, some of the sub trades had to take turns in the confined space, thus taking longer to complete their parts of the job, Cheung said.
Although the final numbers haven’t been compiled, he expects the project to come in around its $770,000 budget.
The improvements — which include steps built in an arch that will double as public seating, green space and a raised wooden deck — have been in the works for more than two years, since council first announced its intention to renovate the space.
During that time, it hasn’t been without its critics.
When the City first announced plans to remove parking spaces from the lane connecting the plaza to Douglas Crescent, in favour of a pedestrian corridor, a number of local business and property owners protested, saying that parking is already at a premium in the downtown core and removing 22 spaces, as planned, would only make the problem worse.
A compromise was reached in a subsequent design that called for the retention of 18 of those spaces.
Prior to its facelift, the lane was being under-used by customers and business owners and had become a hub for vandals.
The idea was to transform the lane into a pedestrian area and a central spot in the City’s downtown core, Joseph Fry of Hapa Collaborative, the company remodeling the lane, told The Times last year.
“The primary thing we are trying to respond to as part of our designs is giving McBurney Lane a friendly pedestrian feeling to it,” Fry said.