On Monday, August 19th, Council received a letter from Amy Da Costa concerning the construction on Lakakas and how it did not include a sidewalk down the Columbia for pedestrians.
“I have lived in Kildala area for a few years and have seen a number of changes. Firstly, the amount and speed of traffic around the corner of Lahakas and along Quatsino has increased dramatically. Heading SE from Lahakas onto Loganberry (the gravel road beyond Lahakas at the Oviatt property) is now emerging as a major traffic route for trucks, heavy machinery and cars. Until recent construction, signage was not adequate as to reflect this change and it was a dangerous corner for traffic and even more so for pedestrians. I had assumed that the number of survey crews in the last two years were not only looking for a traffic solution but also a pedestrian one. The lack of Sidewalk is a huge oversight and one I believe needs some timely attention,” wrote Da Costa.
She explained the majority of people who live in the high occupancy dwellings in that neighbourhood access the downtown core along Quatsino because the only local sidewalk / crosswalk takes them well out of their way. Between fall and spring, the soggy grass tends to hamper travel from anything with wheels.
Da Costa wrote that when she contacted the District of Kitimat Staff, she was told the sidewalks went behind Kitimat housing and not along major routes for safety purposes. In addition, it would increase the amount of snow removal which is done in the winter time.
In her letter, she pointed out there is already a side walk which runs along the length of Lahakas and it can be extended around the curb to meet up with the sidewalk at Columbia street. She added this would not add much to the snow clearing load because a part of the area is already cleared for safety reasons.
“People in the area would prefer to walk. District Leisure services programs have marked the distance, posted signs, and use Quatsino Blvd for their running / walking groups, when in fact, runners are using the roads. Not to mention access to shopping, banking, medical services, hospital and recreation is well within walking distance for those who live in the area. While some still use the grass, curb or even road for travel to town, others opt to drive purely for safety reasons,” wrote Dacosta.
She stated her greatest frustration from writing this is a new sidewalk which extends from the corner of Lahakas and Quatsino along Loganberry. She expressed this shows there is future planning and concern for safety but asked Council how the Lahakas and Quatsino portions were overlooked.
Councillor Mario Feldhoff made a motion for the letter to be referred to the Advisory Planning Commission for Comment and be referred to the 2014 Budget.
“I think that the letter we received from Amy Da Costa raises some good questions and I think that it is prudent that this be given some significant thought and depending on what comes out of the discussion with the APC and where things fit in terms of our wishes for the 2014 budget,” said Feldhoff.
He expressed at that time, Council will be able to make an informed decision.
Councillor Rob Goffinet suggested it is included in their ongoing discussions for legacy projects with proponents. Feldhoff added putting it to the Heritage Sidewalk Committee as well. The motion was called and carried.
This is not the first time foot traffic along Quatsino has been brought before Council. In 2010, Paul Sylvestre went before Council to request crosswalks along Quatsino. Read more about it by clicking here.