Re-Imagine Churchill Square

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Over time, Churchill Square has evolved to become an important public space for the city. Recently, the City has considered improvements to several aspects of Churchill Square including the proposed redevelopment of the old Dominion grocery store (click here), changes to the parking system (click here), and a need to upgrade and improve lighting (click here).

These initiatives allow us to look at other improvement opportunities that may exist. Now is the time to take a holistic look at this important area of the city; to re-imagine Churchill Square as a premiere public space for all residents of St. John’s.


Over time, Churchill Square has evolved to become an important public space for the city. Recently, the City has considered improvements to several aspects of Churchill Square including the proposed redevelopment of the old Dominion grocery store (click here), changes to the parking system (click here), and a need to upgrade and improve lighting (click here).

These initiatives allow us to look at other improvement opportunities that may exist. Now is the time to take a holistic look at this important area of the city; to re-imagine Churchill Square as a premiere public space for all residents of St. John’s.


CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

Review the content on this page related to the project including the Frequently Asked Questions. Still can’t find what you are looking for? Ask a question here and someone from the City or project team will get back to you.



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    Is the diagram showing the square as (still) largely parking space going to be the normal state of things? If so, do you really think this reflects all the commentary in "What We Heard?" The only thing I saw in there that would lead to the conclusion that we still need the square to be mainly a parking lot was a single comment that businesses were nervous about loosing parking. It is clear from the pedestrian mall experience, however, that businesses now realize that removing vehicles from a space make it more commercially viable, not less.

    adraskoy asked 7 months ago

    Creating vibrant pedestrian space is a critical part of urban design to support businesses and the concept plan does reflect a loss of about 26 parking spaces in the area to help achieve this. The Churchill Square parking area is the major parking resource for area businesses as well as the park space across Elizabeth Avenue. Observations of parking demand in the Square were reviewed to help determine user needs. Unlike the downtown, centralized parking garages are not available in the area, so this balance is important to avoid possible spillover and neighbourhood impacts.

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    Given how neglected trees planted during the last upgrade are, will costs include horticultural care and maintenance if trees and shrubs are planted? Alternately, given winter weather / snow clearing has any thought been given to having garden landscaping done in large pots that can be removed each fall ?

    Yvonne Earle asked 7 months ago

    The selected locations of trees proposed in the concept plan have considered the required soil volume to ensure the plantings can establish a healthy root system. Additional details of the landscaping plan would be decided in a future design phase of the project.

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    Can more be done to tie in the existing green space of Churchill Square Park across the street? I feel like that would help alleviate some of the concerns people have over the quantity of pavement.

    pcor asked 7 months ago

    The pedestrian crossing at Elizabeth Avenue will continue to be controlled by a traffic signal.  Potential improvements to this crossing would be evaluated if the project moves ahead.

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    Do you have an estimate on the cost difference between paving the square with asphalt and more decorative materials such as those used on (for example) Argyle St in Halifax?

    JoshSmee asked 7 months ago

    Decorative pavers can cost about twice as much as a standard concrete sidewalk and over five times the cost of paving a surface with asphalt.

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    Will the design team be considering wind patterns and creating wind breaks to make the space more friendly for winter uses?

    JoshSmee asked 7 months ago

    The concept plan has consideration given to the prevailing wind direction. While the wind cannot be completely blocked without cutting off connections to spaces like the main plaza, vertical elements of the trellis structures and tree planting will help to soften it. More thought on the best materials and plantings to do this could be considered at the detailed design stage.

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    Is there an estimate of how wide the expanded sidewalks on the sides of the square would be? Would they be big enough for businesses to put out patio seating or would that seating need to expand into the parking areas?

    JoshSmee asked 7 months ago

    To provide context, a typical sidewalk in the City is 1.5m wide while sidewalks along Water Street in the Downtown are 3m wide and about 5-6m at the new curb extensions.

    The existing sidewalks in front of the mixed-use Churchill Square apartment building on the northeast side of the site are about 4.8m and will increase to about 7.3m. On the other side of the Square, the sidewalk in front of the new mixed-use development currently under construction are proposed to expand from about 4m to 5m. This will provide space for businesses to expand out onto the sidewalks with cafes or sidewalk sales while still maintaining space for pedestrians.

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    Will consideration be given to providing a level 3 charging station for EVs not just L2? At present the only announced downtown L3 charging station will be at Bannerman Park. The strategic location of Churchill Square and proximity to shopping and eating facilities would make this an excellent place to site one if the necessary infrastructure can be installed. (The current recommended guidelines specify 10% of spaces have at least level 2 charging which would mean 3.5 spaces). #electric vehicles #charging stations

    davidbrake asked 7 months ago

    As noted in the FAQs, Churchill Square has been identified as a good candidate location for EV charging stations and the City is looking into funding sources to help make this happen. We expect that stations could be installed in the next couple of years. If the Re-Imagine project moves forward, installation of these stations would be coordinated with the construction.  Details around the level of stations would be considered at that time.

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    I suggest more native evergreens for the tree plantings, particularly for their year-round wind breaking (relative to deciduous) and their hardiness (relative to exotic evergreens).

    rgreene asked 7 months ago

    Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. 

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    The Environment & Sustainability Experts Panel suggested shopping centres should provide a minimum of a parking space for every 20 sq m of gross leasable area and a max of one for every 40 sq m. If Churchill Square was being built now, how would the #parking area compare to this standard?

    davidbrake asked 7 months ago

    As you mention, the Environment & Sustainability Experts Panel reviewed and endorsed the draft parking requirements of the newly proposed Envision development regulations. These specify a minimum requirement of 1 space per 40mof gross leasable area and a maximum of 1 space per 20 mfor a Shopping Centre land use. Churchill Square falls under a separate category of these regulations (section 8.4 of Envision) that specifies a requirement of 1 space per 40mof net commercial floor area (net floor area is about 80% of the gross floor area). This requirement remains unchanged from the existing regulations in place for the area. 

    There is approximately 13,000 m2 of net commercial floor area existing and under construction in Churchill Square, which equates to an approximate requirement of 325 spaces based on a minimum of 1 space per 40m2. If this area was considered as a Shopping Centre use, the draft maximum supply would be 650 spaces (1 space per 20 m2). The concept plan includes approximately 350 parking spaces in the square which would be in line with the range you are referring to.

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    Were there other drafts produced in this process that could be posted here? It seems like we have one rendering, when at this stage it would be helpful to have seen 3 or 4 options.

    lukequinton asked 7 months ago

    The concept plan released was developed from very preliminary ideas and rough plans. Technical constraints including access requirements, underground service locations, vehicle & pedestrian circulation, landscaping needs, and parking accommodation guided the design process. A great deal of effort is required to produce renderings and plans of a concept ready for public review. Therefore, plans that were considered but were not pursued based on technical grounds were not shown as viable concept plans.

Page last updated: 01 April 2021, 14:12