CIMA+ Wins an ACEC-Ontario Award for the Reconstruction of Downtown Lindsay for the City of Kawartha Lakes

CIMA+ has won a 2024 Ontario Engineering Projects Award of Distinction for design and construction services for the reconstruction of downtown Lindsay. Improvements to 2.5 km of roadway on seven streets have revitalized the historic core of the Ontario community and created a safer, pedestrian-friendly neighbourhood for businesses and visitors. 



Initiated by the City of Kawartha Lakes as a long-term community investment, the $22,000,000 project was delivered on schedule in 2023 by CIMA+, despite the complexities created by the Covid-19 pandemic and heritage preservation. Lindsay now enjoys a rejuvenated downtown that will support business and tourism for decades.


Taking Advantage of Infrastructure Improvements to Renew the Community’s Core

The initial impetus for the project was the need to replace and update aging water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure, some of which was almost 130 years old. The City seized the opportunity to simultaneously realize several significant improvements to the streets, sidewalks, streetscaping and landscaping. The community now enjoys:

  • A complete-street design that optimizes safe access to the downtown for all users regardless of age, ability and mobility
  • A reduction of the environmental impact of the downtown’s network of streets through improved stormwater management using low-impact development features
  • Urban realm improvements that respect and enhance the unique historic character of the downtown while providing flexible public spaces, aesthetic improvements, and a larger, healthier tree canopy that will provide shade and reduce the heat-island effect.


Engaging a Broad Community of Stakeholders Throughout the Design and Construction

The collaborative approach employed by the CIMA+ team was critical to the success of the project. It brought together the City, the contractor for each phase, and a highly involved group of stakeholders that included businesses, the Lindsay Downtown Business Improvement Area (BIA), and several community organizations. Interactive public information centres and several stakeholder meetings and workshops yielded invaluable insights for the design and construction. Once construction began, a carefully developed, flexibly implemented communication plan kept stakeholders informed. The City’s Economic Development Department worked with CIMA+ and the BIA as a coordinated team to support local businesses and act on requests for assistance. At the heart of the communication plan was frequent in-person contact with business owners, shoppers, and other users of the downtown, with the construction-service team prioritizing in-person communication like door-to-door outreach and impromptu encounters to provide updates on construction.

A second critical success factor was a construction schedule and staging plan that kept streets fully pedestrian accessible and expedited the completion of each phase. Rather than being dictated to the community, the construction phasing plan arose out of public consultation, and the consultative development of the plan resulted in broad endorsement of the improvements and the way they were implemented.



Full Road Reconstruction Within a Live Heritage District

The design and construction of major road and infrastructure improvements in a highly trafficked downtown heritage area presented significant challenges to the project team, including:

  • Continued public access for pedestrians through active construction
  • Construction within narrow side street rights-of-way that significantly limited room for equipment and materials
  • Replacement of water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure within heavily congested utility corridors
  • Protection of heritage buildings with fragile facades and foundations
  • Unpredictable materials and buried infrastructure, including a large wood cistern, old railway subbase, and old and abandoned utilities



A long-term Investment in the Economic Future of Lindsay

Stephen Podolsky, Chair of the Lindsay Downtown BIA and the Beautification Committee, described the reconstruction as “a once-in-a-lifetime infrastructure project, with roads, sidewalks, storm and sanitary sewer replacement, utilities, and beautification accents being completely replaced and overhauled.” The reconstruction and revitalization were long-term investments in the community that will enhance the attractiveness of the downtown for businesses and tourism and thereby help diversify and stabilize the area’s economy.



Environmental Impact

The innovative streetscaping on Kent Street includes a rubberized mulch that provides a low-maintenance, resilient surface that withstands pedestrian traffic and allows surface moisture to reach street trees and vegetation. To further enhance the success of some of the trees planted along Kent Street, a Silva Cell system was installed during Phase 2 of the project. The system suspends the hard-pavement surface and increases soil volumes to support large tree growth and provide on-site stormwater management through absorption, evapotranspiration, and interception. The system reduces the intensity of runoff by capturing some of the road drainage and redirecting rainwater to street-side plantings. The larger, healthier trees are able to produce broader, denser canopies that reduce the heat-island effect in the downtown, which not only benefits users of the area but contributes to the City’s efforts to reduce its climate impact.


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