Ritchot Sets Plans for Main Street Initiatives


Future Civic Site Development in St. Adolphe RM of Ritchot

Main streets are the cornerstone of every community. They function as the hub for vibrant commerce, social gatherings, and a destination point for tourists. 

Ritchot’s council, along with economic development officer Lesley Gaudry, have worked diligently over the past two years to identify key improvements for three of their communities’ aging and deteriorating main streets and core areas.

A thorough study was carried out by HTFC Planning and Design, a team consisting of landscape architects and technicians, community planners, and traffic engineers. The municipality formed a steering committee to assist with the process and held open houses to hear the ideas and concerns of residents.

The end result of this process was a lengthy report which includes beautiful concept drawings and a list of recommendations to help Ritchot move forward with long- and short-term plans for each community.

“The recommendations will take years to complete, but we now have a document that provides a starting point and a plan so that we can apply for funding should the opportunities arise for granting,” reads notes from council’s open house presentation. “Prioritization and phasing will be based on need, budget availability, and partnerships with funding bodies.”

The process will begin with the implementation of business development strategies, such as the Ritchot Community Development Corporation’s (CDC) incentive program for businesses.

“The Main Street Enhancement Grant being offered is a 50/50 matching grant between the CDC and the business for up to a maximum of $3,000,” says Gaudry. “The criteria is that the business must be on Main Street [or] a central business district street, and be used for external renovations such as lighting, signage, painting, exterior surfacing, landscaping, or beautification.”

Gaudry adds grant applications must be submitted to the RM office by December 24.

Main street infrastructure will be addressed after the spring thaw and upon completion of the 2018 budget. While all the main streets fall under Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation’s (MIT) jurisdiction, Gaudry says that the HFTC’s plans were vetted by MIT and conversations between the RM staff and the province will continue as the process unfolds.

“At this time, partnerships are open,” says Gaudry. “We are reviewing all funding possibilities so that we can start to [enact] recommendations from the plan. Smaller [items] may have the opportunity for funding partnerships that could include the RM and local businesses. There is also internal budget planning, gas tax dollars, and provincial and federal funding opportunities that we wish to explore.”

Changes to infrastructure will be based on HTFC’s overview of each community’s strengths, constraints, and opportunities. The document reviews traffic connections, pedestrian crossings, sidewalks, roadways, controlled entrances, lighting, and beautification features.

Ste. Agathe
The community’s strengths lie in its idyllic riverfront setting with a promenade along the river’s edge. The business section is concentrated on its main street, Pembina Trail, and a vibrant industrial park is set apart by a major traffic route. Cartier Park provides adequate greenspace for residents and visitors to enjoy.

Areas of concern include insufficient speed controls and heavy truck traffic along Highway 305, which divides the community and makes pedestrian crossing to the school and business section from the north hazardous. Other considerations are the lack of sidewalks in the north residential development, as well as the lack of street trees, furnishings, and pedestrian amenities. Cartier Park, located near the Riel Industrial Park and separated from the community by a four-lane highway, is completely inaccessible to pedestrians.

Initial goals will be to look at the beautification of Pembina Trail and improve the community’s overall access to it.

St. Adolphe
This community also borders the river and provides attractive greenspace for residents. Medians run the length of Main Street, providing safer traffic navigation and enhancing the community with trees and flowerpots. Continuous sidewalks line the street. Significant residential growth on both ends of town is expected to encourage the growth of the business sector.

However, the community faces several constraints. The intersection of Main Street and Highway 210 creates a dangerous impediment for residents to the north attempting to access Main Street on foot or bike. Also, sidewalks don’t continue from Main Street into the developments on either end of town.

Increased residential development on the south end of town will shift the community’s service sector to Tourond Creek, dividing the business sections. The community as a whole lacks cycling paths, pedestrian crossings, snowmobile access, and an adequate connection between Main Street and the riverfront.

Serious consideration will be given to the vibrancy of the central business district, residential subdivision connectivity, and the development of a community meeting place along Main Street. The civic office, located on Main Street, will undergo expansion and improvements to its building and surrounding greenspace.

Well-situated along the busy Highway 59, this community is positioned to build on the growth of its residential and business sectors. A vibrant commercial scene already exists along its Main Street, enhanced by grassy medians. The community’s Wildlife Haven and TransCanada Centre create a draw for tourists.

Conversely, Main Street’s sidewalks and curbs are crumbling and worn. The lack of adequate crossings and the prevalence of private property approaches to Main Street pose significant hazards for pedestrian and cyclists.

The business section is becoming increasingly divided, with many of the new services migrating to Meadowlark and Quest Boulevards, gaining better visibility for highway commuters but creating safety concerns for pedestrians and cyclists with improper access. New multifamily housing developments in this area also struggle with safe access to the schools. Many residents need to navigate the dangerous intersection of Dumaine Road and the Old Highway 59.

Goals in this community include the provision of pedestrian-friendly streets, creating safe links to the community’s hubs, and improving infrastructure in the core area.

Time until next issue
Citizen Poll

Do you agree with Ritchot council's decision to end the seniors housing/daycare project that had been initiated alongside Niverville Heritage Holdings?