It may be a finish with a flourish or perhaps it will just need to be a touch, but what we require in this city is a proper finish to ongoing and future projects while revisiting more than a few recent so-called completed projects.
Current council members have raised questions concerning the wisdom of allowing contractors and developers to wrap up their programs and declare them concluded when, in essence, they really aren't finished at all. A main structure may have been built, but without proper exits, entrances, pavement, cement, grass or whatever the plan called for, being installed, it's still an incomplete program.
It is understood that dirt and foundations plus certain construction elements need to “settle” before some finishing work can be carried out, but that should not mean that the final touches need not be applied for 10 or 20 years, if ever.
The question arose in the council chambers about a month ago, suggesting that any new commercial buildings should include a requirement to provide, at the very least, a paved apron for the exits and entrances so that loose sand, gravel, dirt or mud isn't carried out onto the paved sections of the city by the vehicles coming in and out of the new commercial site.
Makes sense to us, especially if we expect to make headway on becoming a cleaner, clearer community. It's either that, or buy three or four more street sweepers to deploy on 24-hour per day shifts in the spring and summer and additional heavy duty snow removal equipment for winter deployments.
A prime example of what we are attempting to illustrate may be found right in front of the Souris Valley Aquatic and Leisure Centre and Spectra Place ... our showcase recreational facilities.
A badly maintained, pothole, dirt and gravel strewn dog's breakfast of a parking lot is finally going to get some attention in the form of proper paving and parking configurations. There may even be embellishments like a little bit of foliage or grass sprinkled in for good measure, but that might be too much to ask.
So exactly 20 years after the leisure centre was officially opened, the community is going to see its parking lot paved and arranged. A paved parking lot was in the original plans, but it never got done. The job would be an annual request by the recreation or parks and leisure team and every year it would be considered and then rejected in favour of some other supposedly more pressing item. Money either needed to be saved to hold the tax line, or needed to be spent elsewhere. So the leisure centre was never really completed.
The skeptic in us suggests that if Spectra Place hadn't been built, we'd probably still be looking for some asphalt on that embarrassing piece of real estate that fronts our showpiece facility. We'll probably never know.
What we can say is that we are pleased to see that the current administration has seen their way clear to finally do the job that should have been done 20 years ago. Those using the swimming pool, library, activity centre, gymnasium, senior centre and arts and recreational offices as well as those attending hockey games in Spectra Place, ICON and Civic Auditorium can say thank you once the job is completed later this summer.
The embarrassment factor just off Souris Avenue will be eliminated.
Now we just hope that this precedent will be followed for all other building projects in the city, backed up by local government legislation that will make it mandatory for projects to be well and truly completed before getting signatures of approval.