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REPORTING · 13th January 2015
Walter McFarlane

One of the issues which comes up locally is the lack of a sidewalk between Strawberry Meadows and the Kitimat City Centre Mall. While Council was going through their supplementary budget for 2015 on Monday, January 12th, Councillor Larry Walker brought it up.

“It’s often been said that municipal government is nothing but about sidewalks and sewers. Well, that’s quite true to a degree, but I see the budget calls for Kingfisher at $850,000,” said Walker. “I have people approaching me on the street, on the internet and in the hospital, that say, we desperately need a sidewalk between Columbia and Lahakas on Quatsino.”

He explained there are people who are afraid to walk to work at night between those high six foot fences with the trees hanging over it. They are choosing to walk on the road because there is no sidewalk along the road.

He also added the sidewalk near his house has not been touched, even though he was told it was next on the list of sidewalks to be redone in 2012. He asked if there was a plan they could stick to and the requests by the Heritage Group seem to fall on deaf ears.

“I don’t think we’re doing a good job in this area because this is where the average person is going to be affected,” said Walker.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff stated the Administration has put forward a plan. “But the tax payer has a limited ability to take on new taxes,” said Feldhoff.

He said all the wishes of the community were added up, the town would probably be looking at a 20% tax increase.

Mayor Phil Germuth stated this has been brought before Council by the public. He asked if there was ever a plan to put in a side walk.

District Engineer Tim Gleig told Council they have 45 kilometers of walkways and they are trying to address the high volume sidewalks between homes, schools and businesses. They eliminate hazards. They do not base which sidewalks they repair based on random chance or phone calls, the sidewalks have to be assessed first.

He reminded Council, in the past, some of the tenders on walkways were over budget or did not come in. He said people do want walkways.

Germuth asked about the fenced in walkways near Columbia. Gleig replied people used to walk through an area which was actually private property.

Gleig told Council there were a lot of walkways.

Walker wanted to know how much it would cost to put in the walkway. He was told it would be about $200-$250 per lineal metre. Walker also asked if it was possible to cover a broken sidewalk with asphalt. The response was it causes the sidewalk to shift but it does not eliminate the tripping hazards.

Later in the meeting, Council made a motion for Administration to return with a report on how much it would cost to put a sidewalk in there. It was called and carried.

Walker shifted topics. He asked Gleig why the District would permit three tonne trucks full of gravel to drive on the sidewalks on the edges of the concrete. The response was that nobody was allowed to drive on the sidewalks without permission. Walker stated these were trucks involved with snow removal and they were putting all of the weight on the weakest part of the concrete.

Council was told these were one tonne sander trucks. There are also maintenance work which needs to be done in the summer and they take a one tonne down then too. Walker asked about BC Hydro.

Gleig replied they take care of the lights on some of the sidewalks and the District makes sure they do not go in often, and if they do, it is during dry periods when the ground is more stable.

Germuth asked if putting a crosswalk from Wakita across Nalabila. Gleig stated they follow a handbook about safe Crossings aimed at protecting School Children. The handbook explains crosswalks make the area less safe. He advised Council they could choose to put in the crosswalk, as Council’s have in the past.

“You’re usually dealing with pedestrians, usually school children who don’t drive. They have the feeling that when they get between the lines on a cross walk before the vehicle, they’ll be okay,” said Gleig.

Feldhoff suggested taking the sidewalks they have in place out but was told it is easier to put something in then taking something out.

Feldhoff suggested they talk about the crosswalks in the Neighbourhood, but should talk about if one more is warranted. He said they added more in the past, although Gleig replied this was before the handbook came out.

Later in the meeting, Council made a motion for a report on putting a cross walk across Nalabila. It was called and carried.
Comment by Vern on 18th January 2015
Correct me if I am wrong but there is a new housing in Strawberry Meadows designed for older and/or disabled people. Many of these people have a harder time getting around then the rest of us. A short sidewalk out of Strawberry Meadows could tie into a Quatsino sidewalk. Maybe we could approach those putting in new developments to help with access for people into and out of the new areas.
Comment by CEM on 17th January 2015
Was it ever in the plans to have a sidewalk from the new area in Strawberry Meadows to the town centre ?
Anyone living there I'm sure is living there because of the convenience of being within walking distant to the stores. But who wants to walk along the side of the road in the winter with snowbanks or cars going by spraying slush. Same as Quatsino, there is a much needed sidewalk. Instead of spending so much money on flower beds, spend it on repairs to the walkways.
Mary John
Comment by Mary John on 16th January 2015
I too walk this stretch every morning, M-F to work. They say you should do something that scares you everyday, well this would be it. I do have to stay alert on this stretch. You can see how many people walk this route by the worn grass along the route. Of course with the snow, we are on the road. But the alternative, using the closest sidewalk is even less inviting, one stretch is like an S curve with over 6 foot fencing with no way to run if necessary. People in Kildala have been asking for this sidewalk for a long time, I have to believe nothing has been done because it is Kildala. Could it be because we have always had less representation on council? Therefore our safety is less important. Women push stroller on this stretch, there are bus stops along here, children walking to the soccer fields, this is also a popular walk/run path from Riverlodge scheduled once a month. Come on, what will it take for this to be a priority???
Dodging Ziggy
Comment by Ralph Bartel on 13th January 2015
Yes we definitely need a sidewalk along Quatsino. I walk along there on occasion and have to walk along the grass parallel to the soccer fields. When I drive the same stretch I've got to dodge Ziggy, who is doing the same, on a daily basis. Let's at least give Ziggy.......and others a safer way. It's about time to actually spend some tax dollars where it's really needed. I did not see the need for a total rebuild of the Court House parking lot or the repaving of Riverlodge parking lot. And at what cost?
sidewalk needed
Comment by j.s. on 13th January 2015
why wouldnt they put a sidewalk along that stretch of road there is people walking on the road there every day, its always about the buget yet they just paved the least most used parking lot downtown by the court house and at what cost was that.also they repaved the riverlode parking lot at what cost, two jobs that probaly didnt even need doing or at least could of waited a few more years.
Comment by Vern on 13th January 2015
One would think a sidewalk between Strawberry Meadows and City Centre makes sense given that there is a new housing development in the area aimed at older and/or disabled people.