‘Tactical Urbanization’ to be utilized by Seaforth businesses

Huron East Public Works Manager Barry Mills addresses BIA members at the Seaforth Golf Course (Photo by Adam Bell)

Two University of Guelph students spoke to BIA members at the Seaforth Golf Club Wednesday evening as the town prepares for major downtown reconstruction over the next two summers.

Master of Planning students Meghan Birbeck and Emily Hehl focused on unique ideas to maintain foot traffic in the downtown while construction is occurring on Kippen Road in two phases.

Birbeck and Hehl focused on a process they call “Tactical Urbanization”, which includes a “go up quickly, come down quickly” approach to one-off shopping like food trucks or easy-to-move market stands.

The pair feel planning events, attracting youths and utilizing an alley located close to Kippen Road are a good start for businesses finding ways to continue foot traffic in downtown Seaforth while construction takes place.

A possible slogan was also discussed as a way to brand downtown businesses during the construction process. One recommendation was “Seaforth on the 4th”, with events taking place on the fourth day of each month.

Some Huron East members of council, including Public Works Manager Barry Mills, were on hand for the meeting. Mills agreed the slogan idea was a good one, noting the construction is, “a hardship on the community, but once it’s complete it’ll be a bonus for the community”.

A portion of the construction will be completed this summer in nearby Egmondville, south of Seaforth, between Lloyd Eisler Street and Front Road, while a second phase will begin in 2020 between Lloyd Eisler Street to Goderich Street, otherwise known as County Road 8.

Birbeck and Hehl will take the recommendations and continue plans for events during construction, which is set to begin with Phase 1 shortly.