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REPORTING · 5th February 2015
Walter McFarlane
There are people in Kitimat who want to see a walkway along Quatsino Boulevard from Columbia Street to Lahakas Boulevard. This sidewalk came before Council for discussion on Wednesday, February 4th at a Special Meeting of Council which dealt with their budget.

A report to Council from administration provided the background. This request has come up in the past but has never been approved for the budget. However, this came forward prior to the development of Strawberry Meadows. The report notes there are alternate paths which lead to the City Centre and there are approximately 40 kilometres of walkways in Kitimat.

“Safe and reasonable access to the City Centre from the Quatsino/Columbia area exists through a collection of interior walkways and residential roads,” read the report. “Many pedestrians will take what seems to be the shortest route between locations even if the route is not intended for pedestrian traffic and exposes them to potential risk.”

The report states there is a direct pedestrian access between two of the Quatsino Condominiums but this was blocked off by the Condominium Association. The District of Kitimat assumed this was done to restrict the general public.

Council was given 5 options.
1: A walkway on the North side of Quatsino between Columbia and Lahakas.
2: A walkway on the South side of Quatsino between Columbia and Lahakas.
3: Expropriate Condominium Property for a walkway between Wedeene and Stikine
4: An alternate type of walkway, such as a linear park for summer use only
5: Alternate walkway locations on Lahakas.

The report lists costs for the walkways, the North side of Quatsino would cost $200,000 and the South Side of Quatsino would cost $300,000. It recommended this be further assessed and forwarded to the traffic committee.

District Engineer Tim Gleig told the Council this walkway is not going to be completed this year because of the time required to get it designed and tendered.

Council was shown a bird’s eye view of the area which showed where the walkways could go. They were told for option 1, there was little room to use. The walkway standard is 8 feet. The walkway would have to go 2 feet away from the condo’s fence and this would leave four feet for snow, if the walkway was being kept open in the winter time. The distance between the curb and the condominiums is 15 feet.

The second recommendation was explained as the larger investment. It was suggested this walkway could be a linear park style walkway. It was pointed out this option would most likely tie into the walkway from the Civeo Lodge which was expected to get a lot of traffic.

Council was showed a bird’s eye view of the land which they have the option of expropriating. They were told a gate and a fence keeps walkers out. Council was told they could put a walkway through there but it would also be going through people’s back yards.

Gleig told Council they have met with the condominium association in the past and the association has not been receptive to putting a walkway through the particular piece of land. The District could argue expropriation if it is deemed to be in the public interest.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff said something needed to be done and money had to be set aside, but he did not want to spend the evening focusing on the sidewalk. He pointed out Council took a tour of the area and they should be putting money aside to do this but Council should not be deciding what the best option is.

“There has been some discussion about residents blocking off and expropriating. I don’t even know if expropriation is necessary because everything we have the right of way. They unilaterally put up a fence,” said Feldhoff.

He wanted something material to move forward though right of ways for the betterment of all or create the linear walkways which were recommended, perhaps simply putting crush down. “We keep talking and talking and talking for years. We’ve been talking about sidewalks in Kildala and it’s done. We have to act,” said Feldhoff.

Councillor Larry Walker expressed the budget was going to be a tight year. In the meantime, they could clear the snow off of the gravel path people are currently using so there is a place for them to walk in the winter rather than having them walk in the middle of the road.

One of the other topics, which Council was also told about was there a bus stop near the condominiums on Quatsino which needs to be moved to the other side of the street as it is a hazard. Gleig has asked the bus service if people are still using this particular stop. He stated this stop would be in the way of any walkway going through there.

Councillor Mary Murphy agreed it was a hazard. “People were telling me it was a hazard until it was a hazard to me, and then it was a hazard to my husband,” said Murphy.

She expressed the bus stop blocks visibility at the entrance to the condominiums on Quatsino. It was explained, due to the new turning lane onto Quatsino from Lahakas, people are making the turns onto Quatsino faster.

“You almost have to pull out to see if there’s any traffic coming,” said Murphy.

One of the things which Council was asked to consider was about whether they want Sidewalks to be a part of the transportation or recreation umbrella. Gleig added there have also be requests for a similar walkway along Haisla.

He pointed though adding new sidewalks would prolong the sidewalk replacement program as all of the sidewalks are replaced out of the same pot of money. Gleig advised Council though that determining their priorities was more important than determining their budget.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff moved the recommendation for further assessment and added to earmark funds for the sidewalk. The motion was called and carried.

Murphy confirmed following the motion there was a petition on this. She was told it could come before Council later this month.
Sidewalks
Comment by CEM on 11th February 2015
Like the previous statement, it should be obvious what sidewalks have priority. The ones that will get used the most and where there is none and where there is a well used trail in the grass already which can't be seen right now. It's not very pleasant to be walking/jogging along the street with vehicles going by and be hit with water/slush etc. There are some of these old sidewalks that rarely get used because they are so grown in, leaning fences, dogs that bark that a person doesn't feel safe walking in these back allies.
No one asks the right questions
Comment by bill on 5th February 2015
So here we are in 2015, many years after Rio Tinto started, and after companies like Shell, Chevron, Enbridge etc.. have chosen Kitimat as their ground zero. Did anyone on our bright council ask for contributions to city improvements?!? No, they didn't. These companies have asked how can they leave a lasting benefit to the community (minus RTA). Why is it that Terrace isn't afraid to ask for money to get new things? Hey Shell, wanna set up in Kitimat, well we need a sidewalk or two, or hell we need some low cost housing...might cost ya a few million, but that is peanuts to you.
sidewalks
Comment by Jim on 5th February 2015
These sidewalks have been talked about for years and still nothing people are being forced to walk on the road a real safety issue especially in adverse weather conditions. . With the Rio Tinto project finishing this summer and with the LNG project temporary on a slowdown this year I would think this would be a perfect time to find a contractor capable of doing some of this work this summer. Council needs to put that useless Mr.Glieg on the hot seat and direct him to find the budget and make it a priority while we are in a lull between major projects to have some of this work done this summer, not just take at face value his word that it can't be done this year. Make him earn his paycheck and explore all avenues to prioritize this now.
Its sad when citizens have to take out a petition to
get their message across that we need a sidewalk
The problem was here at budget time last year
and he had no problem setting aside money to prioritize repaving a couple of parking lots .that few people use. Sure makes you wonder sometime.