The Town of Bonnyville will start looking at a pedestrian strategy for future sidewalk construction.
It was highlighted during a discussion at town council on Tuesday about the need for a sidewalk between the Centennial Centre and the 7/11 on Highway 659.
Councillor Brian McEvoy cited his experience in Airdrie from the 1980s and suggested the town builds a pedestrian strategy before building sidewalks.
Council unanimously agreed.
“When we start taking a look at the overall plan, where we have existing sidewalks in the community, we can see we have massive vacancies all over town,” said Mayor Gene Sobolewski.
“But it opened up a lot of other discussion in terms of the ability to move people. Where’s their origins, where are their destinations? And how do we fix some of these vacancies?” he said.
Council moved to begin work on a pedestrian strategy, and also look for a fix between 7/11 and the Centennial Centre.
“What we wanted to do was start talking a look at an overall strategy, basically come up with priorities because the one thing we have to be careful as a council is we don’t get involved in the micro-managing,” said Sobolewski.
“We can see that we have a lot of vacancies, but let’s start focusing on where are the high priorities. Are they on the downtown corridor, is from the 7/11 to the C2, is it on Railway Avenue? Where is it and where would we want these corridors?”
“Later on we’ll put money in the budget to discuss this sort of thing, a sort of five-year plan or a master plan, and then also involve the public.
The S-curve in Beau Vista was mentioned as a concern because when snow falls, pedestrians begin walking on the road.
Councillor Elise Brosseau thought some other areas that needed attention was 41st St., 47th Ave., and 44th Ave.
“If you take a look at the area between 47 St. to 49 St. and the new areas between 43rd and 42nd, you’ll see there’s quite a vacancy in sidewalks. In the summertime, it’s not that bad, but in the wintertime when people are walking on the road,” said Sobolewski.
The cost question will inevitably follow: if the town does decide to build sidewalks, who will pay for them?
“There’s likely to be the local improvement question. And the local improvement question is usually quite controversial, a lot of people have support, a lot of people don’t like it, it’s one of those things, but it has to be talked in how to pay for these things like sidewalks,” said Sobolewski.