|A large delegation from the Fourth Avenue West area was at Council|
on Tuesday with concerns over the Closed status of the
walkway between their area and downtown
A large delegation of residents of the Fourth Avenue West area attended Tuesday's Prince Rupert City Council session, backing up their recent petition drive to seek immediate attention to the currently closed Walkway between their neighbourhood and the downtown area.
The sizeable number of those in attendance for the public comment period applauded loudly following a presentation from John Patterson, who provided for the largest share of the narrative on the night.
He outlined the history of the closure of the pathway which came following a storm which sent a large tree tumbling to the walkway, as well as to note of the volume of people that use the pathway and observed on how improving accessibility in the community is part of the Official Community Plan.'
Mr. Patterson offered up some simple advice towards the issue which has now gone on for over four months:
"As far as the cost in my humble opinion, public works has a couple of chain saws and the additional cost would be the railings which would be minimal and with a city budge of what is it thirty million, fifty million? If we can't find twenty thousand to fix that pathway we're in trouble"
He called for the City to take the bull by the horns and advise public works to make the repairs the number one priority, noting of a change recently towards the signage on the pathway.
"The original sign said permanently closed, then they changed it to temporarily closed, and you know what it means the same damn thing, same thing, so we want some action"
He noted of the irony of the previous presentation on access to trails in the community and how in this instance an existing and popular trail remains closed
Ms. Jones followed up with a reference to the Official Community Plan and its desire for walkability and how the Trail was featured in the documentation. She also observed that more than just the residents of the area make use of the trail but many other residents and tourists do as well.
Brian Musgrave also spoke to the Trail issue, observing to the vast volume of people that use the trail beyond the neighbourhood, noting that with Cruise passengers in town, many wish to see the Church on Fourth Avenue but the access to it is now restricted in access to it.
He also observed on the lack of maintenance that the City put towards the pathway and staircase in recent years and how the City has a responsibility towards to get it cleaned up and to maintain it, as well as to make it a priority.
"The City in the time that I've been there. I think part of the issue is, is lack of maintenance. I don't think I've ever seen that thing power washed, I know there was that a contractor did some work maybe there or four years ago for the City ... But the big thing is, as a city you've got responsibilities for the whole city. You've got responsibilities of liabilities on assets there.
The reality is, is that we are in a unique spot especially from like I say the Grocery stores and the Cruise ships and the amount of people coming through. I like John say it should be a priority, we know there's other walkways that have issues.
But if we can have somebody that can drive around on a Sunday and pick up garbage we can get somebody to start cleaning our walkways and increase that accessibility that is there"
Further into the Council session, the topic returned for Discussion led by Councillor Nick Adey who noted of the passionate defence of the trail by those in attendance.
"Clearly this a subject of great interest, a significant number of people have taken the time to come and see us, a significant number of people have signed a petition.
So I think we need to acknowledge that and I also know that it has been raised in previous meetings and the standing circumstance is that as we speak, it is something that is not budgeted for, there's issues around budgeting for resolving this problem.
So I think where we need to go with this is to ask staff to consider who we might develop a proposal that will work in terms of getting this problem solved without necessarily compromising too much in terms of other things that we may have to deal with -- Councillor Nick Adey
We noted of the past explanations of the situation from the Operations Manager as part of our preview of Tuesday's petition drive.
Tuesday's push back from the community, also provided for a few thoughts from the City Manager, with Rob Buchan charting a possible path ahead.
"I would like to lend my support on the idea that the matter be referred to staff for a report, outlining the issues and potential costs, process and budget implications for opening the stairway sooner than later"
Councillor Adey suggested a timeline of a report by the next Council meeting, something which the City Manager noted he would have to discuss with the Operations Manager.
"We hear the urgency, we'll have it back as soon as we can, but I can't commit that the full assessment would be able to be done in time for the next meeting, we'll try"
Mayor Pond noting that he doesn't want to set staff up to fail, observed that the deliver of the report should be as soon as possible.
You can review the full commentary from the public comment period from the City's Video archive staring at the 21 minute mark, the City Council discussion and decision to refer it city staff for a fuller review can be found at the 46 minute mark.
More notes from Tuesday's Council session can be reviewed through our Council Timeline Feature.
Other infrastructure themes are explored as part of our archive page here.