Water Street Redevelopment

Consultation has concluded

Water Street has long been a hub of activity in Downtown St. John's. From its earliest days as the commercial district to today as a bustling street with increased social activity and tourism attraction, Water Street is uniquely St. John's. The City is currently in the planning phase for the replacement of century-old infrastructure beneath Water Street between the area of Waldegrave and Prescott Streets. This work will start in 2017 and is expected to take five years starting on the west end and moving east cove by cove.

With this project comes the opportunity for the City to think

Water Street has long been a hub of activity in Downtown St. John's. From its earliest days as the commercial district to today as a bustling street with increased social activity and tourism attraction, Water Street is uniquely St. John's. The City is currently in the planning phase for the replacement of century-old infrastructure beneath Water Street between the area of Waldegrave and Prescott Streets. This work will start in 2017 and is expected to take five years starting on the west end and moving east cove by cove.

With this project comes the opportunity for the City to think about how Water Street could be improved above-ground. What would make Water Street function better? What features could enhance its already unique qualities? The City is actively seeking ideas and input from residents and downtown stakeholders on how to improve Water Street. We will be hosting a number of events throughout the City and on the street itself to make it as easy as possible for everyone to provide input.

This page also provides space for input and will keep folks up to date on what's happening with the project.


Consultation has concluded
  • Water Street Infrastructure Project to Start in 2018  

    over 1 year ago
    CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

    St. John’s City Council has approved delaying the Water Street infrastructure project until 2018. The decision was made at the January 23, 2017 meeting of Council.

    In December 2016 the City announced there are opportunities to rehabilitate the majority of the water and sewer infrastructure on Water Street using trenchless technologies. Since then, the City met with utility and downtown stakeholders to discuss the scope of the work required and the schedule for the project. Both stakeholder groups indicated they would like the project start moved to 2018.  

    This postponement allows more time for utility stakeholders to determine if their...

    St. John’s City Council has approved delaying the Water Street infrastructure project until 2018. The decision was made at the January 23, 2017 meeting of Council.

    In December 2016 the City announced there are opportunities to rehabilitate the majority of the water and sewer infrastructure on Water Street using trenchless technologies. Since then, the City met with utility and downtown stakeholders to discuss the scope of the work required and the schedule for the project. Both stakeholder groups indicated they would like the project start moved to 2018.  

    This postponement allows more time for utility stakeholders to determine if their scope of work changes based on the new trenchless technology approach. It also allows for downtown businesses to develop their own contingency plans, and for the City and business associations to develop marketing plans to draw people to the downtown before and during construction. 

    While much of the work can be completed using trenchless technology, traditional open excavation will also be required. Public engagement and communication will continue throughout the duration of planning and implementation of the project.


  • Water Street Infrastructure Upgrade 

    over 1 year ago
    CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

    Investigative work required to evaluate trenchless technologies for Water Street infrastructure improvements is now complete. Results of the exploratory work indicate that trenchless technology is a feasible option for the infrastructure upgrade, but there are still some details left to work out. 

    City staff have met with the downtown stakeholder group to share the results of the investigative work and to discuss the next steps. Meetings with utility companies are currently ongoing.  

    City council will make a decision early in the new year regarding details and timing for the infrastructure replacement project. 

    Public engagement...

    Investigative work required to evaluate trenchless technologies for Water Street infrastructure improvements is now complete. Results of the exploratory work indicate that trenchless technology is a feasible option for the infrastructure upgrade, but there are still some details left to work out. 

    City staff have met with the downtown stakeholder group to share the results of the investigative work and to discuss the next steps. Meetings with utility companies are currently ongoing.  

    City council will make a decision early in the new year regarding details and timing for the infrastructure replacement project. 

    Public engagement and communication related to this project will continue as information becomes available.


  • Water Street Combined Sewer Cleaning will continue in August

    over 1 year ago
    CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

    Sewer cleaning and investigative work to evaluate trenchless technologies for Water Street infrastructure improvements will continue in August. The trial cleaning from Clift’s-Baird’s Cove and Job’s Cove was completed in late June, with the remaining cleaning to begin on the west end of Water Street at Waldegrave, then moving east. 

    As the full contract details are being finalized the exact start date has not been determined; however work will start no earlier than August 8. Notifications will be provided in advance. 

    Once work is underway, the cleaning crew will move east, section by section, based on progress...

    Sewer cleaning and investigative work to evaluate trenchless technologies for Water Street infrastructure improvements will continue in August. The trial cleaning from Clift’s-Baird’s Cove and Job’s Cove was completed in late June, with the remaining cleaning to begin on the west end of Water Street at Waldegrave, then moving east. 

    As the full contract details are being finalized the exact start date has not been determined; however work will start no earlier than August 8. Notifications will be provided in advance. 

    Once work is underway, the cleaning crew will move east, section by section, based on progress. Advisories will be provided approximately 48 hours in advance of crews moving to a new section of the street. Sidewalks will remain open and two-way traffic will continue. 

    Impact on Water Street 

    All cleaning will be completed in the daytime between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. There will be localized loss of parking during these hours to allow for two-way through traffic with flag persons in place to facilitate movement. There will be noise associated with the equipment used for the cleaning, as well as the pump used to bypass the sewer. Note the following details: 

    Parking meters will remain bagged for the duration of the work in a section, parking will be permitted during the evening and overnight hours. Vehicles must be removed from the bagged meters by 6 a.m.  

    Metrobus will be notified of potential loss of bus stops and will advise riders accordingly.  

    Deliveries will be accommodated but not necessarily in the existing loading zones depending on the cleaning equipment set-up.  

    Traffic advisories will be issued on the City’s website. Residents and businesses can sign up for e-Updates here, please choose ‘Traffic Advisories’.  

    A representative will be on site at all times during the work to address any concerns that businesses, property owners or residents may have. Should you have questions or concerns please contact Access St. John’s by calling 311 or 709-754-CITY (2489) or online.


  • Water Street Combined Sewer Cleaning work to begin next week

    over 1 year ago
    CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

    Residents and businesses are advised that trial sewer cleaning and investigative work to evaluate trenchless technologies for Water Street infrastructure improvements will begin during the week of June 20, lasting three to five days

    Due to the nature of the work cleaning will be completed in the daytime. Water Street will remain open to traffic during this time with flag persons in place to facilitate traffic flow. Traffic advisories will be issued on the City’s website, residents and businesses can sign up for e-Updates here, please choose ‘Traffic Advisories’.


    Scope of Work

    The...

    Residents and businesses are advised that trial sewer cleaning and investigative work to evaluate trenchless technologies for Water Street infrastructure improvements will begin during the week of June 20, lasting three to five days.

    Due to the nature of the work cleaning will be completed in the daytime. Water Street will remain open to traffic during this time with flag persons in place to facilitate traffic flow. Traffic advisories will be issued on the City’s website, residents and businesses can sign up for e-Updates here, please choose ‘Traffic Advisories’.


    Scope of Work

    The cleaning of the combined sewer will include two components:

    · Trail Cleaning:

    During the week of June 20 a trial cleaning will take place in the block between Clift’s-Baird’s Cove and Job’s Cove. This trial will provide additional scheduling and cost information for cleaning of the remaining combined sewer.

    · Complete Cleaning:

    Dates are yet to be determined for the remaining combined sewer cleaning from Job’s Cove to Waldegrave Street. There will be a three to four week break between trial cleaning and the complete cleaning of all Water Street infrastructure. Additional notification will be provided when the main contract begins.

    Impact on Water Street

    During the week of June 20 there will be localized loss of parking to allow for two-way through traffic. There will be some noise associated with the equipment used for the cleaning.

    Additional Information

    A representative will be on site at all times to address any concerns that businesses, property owners or residents may have. Sewer cleaning is crucial before determining the feasibility of trenchless technologies for Water Street infrastructure improvements.

    Should you have questions or concerns please contact Access St. John’s by calling 311 or 709-754-CITY (2489) or online.


  • New Option Being Considered for Water Street Infrastructure Work

    over 1 year ago
    CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

    The City of St. John’s is considering an option to replace aging infrastructure on Water Street using trenchless technology.

    “Staff have been exploring the possibility of how best and least disruptively to replace water and sewer lines along Water Street from Waldegrave Street to Job's Cove,” explained Councillor Danny Breen, Chair of the Standing Committee on Public Works. “Trenchless technology may be a way to do that. It has only been used occasionally in Newfoundland, but is quite common in other jurisdictions; based on our initial review, it does appear that this may be a good option for Water Street...

    The City of St. John’s is considering an option to replace aging infrastructure on Water Street using trenchless technology.

    “Staff have been exploring the possibility of how best and least disruptively to replace water and sewer lines along Water Street from Waldegrave Street to Job's Cove,” explained Councillor Danny Breen, Chair of the Standing Committee on Public Works. “Trenchless technology may be a way to do that. It has only been used occasionally in Newfoundland, but is quite common in other jurisdictions; based on our initial review, it does appear that this may be a good option for Water Street, but more exploration is required.”

    Using trenchless technology was originally considered but was not investigated in depth as the scope of the project grew to include utilities, laterals and streetscape redesign.

    Based on input from downtown stakeholders and continued research, the City will now investigate the feasibility of this approach. The exploratory work will include:

    · Cleaning the existing combined sewer beginning in spring 2016

    · Videoing the combined sewer and determining suitability for lining

    · Confirming the capacity of the existing watermain

    Information sessions will be organized and communications materials will be shared with the downtown community soon. Once this exploratory work is complete, staff will report back to Council with a recommendation as to whether or not this is a viable option to pursue. If viable, the project will proceed as planned in 2017 using this approach.

    “We have been meeting with downtown representatives for several months now, and they asked the City to explore other options for this construction,” explained Councillor Dave Lave, Council champion for public engagement. “Although this option would still require some excavation around manholes, hydrants and connections, the amount of disruption would be minimized and the impact on downtown businesses would be greatly reduced.”

    Pursuing trenchless technology as a means to replace the aging infrastructure would also mean that any plans to refresh Water Street above ground would have to be considered outside the scope of this project.

  • "What we heard" during the engagement process

    over 1 year ago
    CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

    Between July and September 2015, the City, working with CBCL Limited and UPLAND Urban Planning and Design, carried out a comprehensive engagement process designed to involve the public and key stakeholders in discussions about how to refresh Water Street. The "What we Heard" through the consultation document, found in the document library, reflects the common themes we heard throughout that process and helps shape the design principles. Did we hear you correctly? Are these the design principles that are important to you? What's missing? Tell us below.



    Between July and September 2015, the City, working with CBCL Limited and UPLAND Urban Planning and Design, carried out a comprehensive engagement process designed to involve the public and key stakeholders in discussions about how to refresh Water Street. The "What we Heard" through the consultation document, found in the document library, reflects the common themes we heard throughout that process and helps shape the design principles. Did we hear you correctly? Are these the design principles that are important to you? What's missing? Tell us below.



  • Innovation From Other Cities: Flexible Streets in Kitchener, Ontario

    by Melanie, about 2 years ago
    CLOSED: This map consultation has concluded


    In 2004, the City of Kitchener took the first steps to transform King Street at the heart of its downtown core. The project initially began as an initiative to upgrade street lighting. However, through a series of public engagement sessions the project grew into a major overhaul of the entire streetscape.

    In 2007, Council approved the final design, which was built around creating a flexible space. Rolled curbs and removable bollards allow King Street to be reconfigured as a public open space for events, or for parking spaces to be increased in the colder months.

    Today, the street plays host...


    In 2004, the City of Kitchener took the first steps to transform King Street at the heart of its downtown core. The project initially began as an initiative to upgrade street lighting. However, through a series of public engagement sessions the project grew into a major overhaul of the entire streetscape.

    In 2007, Council approved the final design, which was built around creating a flexible space. Rolled curbs and removable bollards allow King Street to be reconfigured as a public open space for events, or for parking spaces to be increased in the colder months.

    Today, the street plays host to a wide variety of civic events. Festivals such as Oktoberfest, Cruising on King (classic cars), and the Kitchener Blues Festival can draw upwards of 40,000
    people to the street.


    Year Complete: 2010.

    Total Budget: $10 million

    Project Length: 800m

  • The History of Water Street

    by Melanie, about 2 years ago
    CLOSED: This map consultation has concluded

    Originally known as “The Lower Path”, Water Street has been the heart of Downtown St. John’s since 1527. It began unpaved, unlit, winding and as narrow as six feet wide, connecting piers and fish processing buildings.

    By 1811, with the dissolution of properties dedicated to ships, a wider variety of buildings began to populate the street, including factories, post offices, banks, restaurants, taverns, bakeries, drugstores, hotels and private houses. Huge fires in 1816, 1846 and 1892 ravaged the street and much of St. John’s. With each rebuild, Water Street was straightened and widened, and stricter edicts were put in place...

    Originally known as “The Lower Path”, Water Street has been the heart of Downtown St. John’s since 1527. It began unpaved, unlit, winding and as narrow as six feet wide, connecting piers and fish processing buildings.

    By 1811, with the dissolution of properties dedicated to ships, a wider variety of buildings began to populate the street, including factories, post offices, banks, restaurants, taverns, bakeries, drugstores, hotels and private houses. Huge fires in 1816, 1846 and 1892 ravaged the street and much of St. John’s. With each rebuild, Water Street was straightened and widened, and stricter edicts were put in place to encourage buildings with greater fire resistance.

    Infrastructure changed significantly through Water Street’s history. After the second major fire in 1846, the street remained unpaved, but many business owners had put down wooden or stone sidewalks in front of their buildings. Significant improvements came in the late 1800s. In 1889, incandescent lights were installed along the street and in 1899 the street and sidewalks were paved in granite blocks, and simultaneously, electric street cars were installed, giving people more options for travelling in the downtown.

    In 1939 buses were introduced along Water Street. The presence of buses, as well as the rise of the automobile, brought about the removal of the streetcar and repaving of Water Street in tarmac in 1948. Completing the current street infrastructure, traffic lights were added in 1952 and overhead electric wiring was put underground in 1966.

    Now, in 2015, the requirement to upgrade infrastructure has made a comprehensive project possible, in which the character and experience of Water Street can continue to evolve and be refreshed.