If you have lived in St. Catharines or Thorold for a long time, you are probably already wondering about the changing streetscapes on Sir Isaac Brock Way. The Niagara Region headquarters has been busy building their International Plaza under the Brock District Plan. The $3 million construction project began in late April of 2019 and is projected to be completed this year as it approaches its final stages.
Under the Brock District Plan, Niagara Region shares three priorities in 2020: a grand avenue to Brock University, Brock District’s complete streets and a civic park in front of the Niagara Region Headquarters.
The Niagara Region Headquarters will have 12 sections to entertain students, staff, and the general public. The space is going to be turned into a multi-use front lawn encapsulating the main site, the International Plaza. The lawn will be maintained to the highest standard and will be considered as a resting area according to the Niagara Region’s Manager of Urban Design, Khaldoon Ahmed.
Right beside the plaza is the Gardens of Municipalities, consisting of 12 flagpoles where the Canadian flag will be hoisted at all times along with the Region’s flag and one for each municipality within Niagara Region. Indigenous Peoples Commemorative Plaza is intended to celebrate the regions’ diverse and rich Indigenous history. The project also includes the feature N-I-A-G-A-R-A sign, meant to attract tourists as a major photo-op.
The project is divided into four different phases. Phase one includes the International Plaza and Courtyard’s completion. Phase two consists of the front lawn, Orchard Plaza and the Gardens of Municipalities. Phase three will include the side lawn, the Indigenous Peoples Commemorative Plaza and the Entry Plaza. Finally, phase four would see the completion of the multi-use pathways and fitness stations, parking lots and crosswalks.
The entire plan is based on the Regional Council-endorsed master plan, which further elaborates on the need for the public site. The lack of public spaces in the area was evident, making it easy to support the construction of the International Plaza.
In a public statement, the region has shown interest in acquiring certification of the plaza through the Sustainable Sites Initiative, as the project aligns with the environmental goals of the Brock District Plan.