February 13, 2014 - 3:37 PM
VERNON - Vernon City Hall almost waited for a year-long comprehensive trails study to be completed before installing a lamp post on a popular neighbourhood path.
Coun. Catherine Lord has been lobbying for the safety feature since last November. The light would illuminate a trail connecting 43 Avenue with amenities on Okanagan Landing Road. Lord noted it’s a lower income neighbourhood, and said residents without vehicles rely on the path to access grocery stores and other shopping.
The only other way from 43 Avenue to the shopping centre is a long walk around the water reclamation plant, Lord said.
Staff recommended deferring any decisions on upgrading the path until a study on all city trails was completed. The mayor at least was in support of the recommendation.
“I don’t think it’s good governance that the loudest gets service, and those who are more polite don’t get service.... We run the risk of that if we don’t do the background contextual work,” Sawatzky said.
Lord insisted the path shouldn’t be lumped in with other recreational trails, that it is depended on by the public and that the issue is one of safety for those walking it in the dark.
“Can’t we be a little bit logical about it and have a little bit of common sense and say in some instances we can do this? We don’t need to have a city wide study on all of them (trails),” she said.
Ultimately, staff’s original recommendation was thrown out, and an alternative adopted. Lord moved a motion for council to support the improvements in principal, and to direct staff to determine cost estimates and funding options. The second part of the motion states that council will defer decisions on any other trails until a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) audit is conducted. All but the mayor supported the motion.
Lord doesn’t know how long it will take for the light fixture to be installed, but she’s encouraged it will happen sooner than later.
“It’s about helping out a neighbourhood; it should be that simple,” Lord said.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014