Over 100 Doval residents, business owners and local politicians came out to discuss the future of their city during two public consultation meetings held at the Sarto-Desnoyers Community Centre. Led by Dorval Main Streets (DMS) and the BC2 consultancy firm, attendees actively participated in finding a common vision of Dorval’s future through group exercises and discussion.
Early last year, the local business association DMS partnered with the City of Dorval to develop a revitalization plan for the city’s commercial areas, principally Dorval Avenue and Lakeshore Drive. The consultations held January 27 and 29 offered the public and merchants a chance to become part of the process.
After a brief recap of the revitalization project, the coordinator from BC2 asked each attendee what makes Dorval unique for them and the answers placed on a poster. After that, small groups were formed around tables to discuss how the commercial offering, appeal and identity of Dorval Avenue and Lakeshore Drive can be improved.
After the brainstorming session, the table had to agree on three priorities to present to answer what should be done for both streets to benefit community and visitors and improve the attractiveness and the user-friendliness of the area.
The groups came up with dozens of ideas. Many spoke of diversification of the stores and restaurants and to bring in more ethnic choices. Others said that a few international renowned chain restaurants might attract tourists looking for the familiar. The suggestions came in bunches and with a real passion.
« The energy was really good. Everyone was looking to get involved. One of my favourite ideas came from a teenager, who would like Dorval to become a « smart » city with free WIFI, automated shuttles from the airport to the city centre and interactive panels for visitors to know what’s happening, » explained Béatrice Cuzzi of Dorval Main Streets.
Other ideas included dog parks, BIXI bikes, transforming the old theatre into an arts and culture centre and landscaping the shoreline. More fundamental issues like better public transportation and a link between the airport, north and south Dorval and a public market were also mentioned.
Beautification and rejuvenation
At the end of the session, all these ideas, and the hundreds of others scribbled on the pads and table maps, were collected by BC2 for examination and analysis.
Their objective will be to create preliminary conceptual plans that will answer the main challenges of the commercial and urban revitalization of Dorval and offer residents and visitors two dynamic and attractive commercial areas with a variety that reflects the diversity of the community and access to the waterfront.
Their report should be ready by mid-March.