In the story ‘Fifth Avenue paving cancelled’ published in the Lakes District News’ July 5 issue, council was considering adding a sidewalk to the Centre Street repaving project.
However, council members changed their minds after village staff presented them with a cost estimate.
After consulting with an engineer, village staff determined that the cost to repave Centre Street – between Home Hardware and Third Avenue – while adding a sidewalk with the required curb, gutter and storm would be approximately $695,000. The village’s current budget only allows $160,000 for a repaving project.
In addition to the added cost, village staff pointed out that adding a sidewalk would delay the Centre Street repaving project by approximately six weeks, and that there’s no guarantee the project would be completed by the end of the season.
Furthermore, village staff say the project would not include water and sewer infrastructure replacement and that potential damage to the infrastructure would be a risk.
Given the added cost and potential risk, village staff recommended that council proceed with the Centre Street repaving project without the inclusion of a sidewalk.
Councillor Michael Riis-Christianson said he was disappointed.
“I fully expected it was going to be a lot, but I sometimes feel that we are never really making a real headway on some of the infrastructure issues,” he said. “I find it disappointing and frustrating.”
Councillor Susan Schienbein said she wasn’t surprised at the cost either.
“Even though it looks like it’s so much money, at some point in time it’s going to be significantly more money, and the expenses are outgrowing our ability to generate revenue,” she said. “At some point in time, if we really want Burns Lake to be a livable community, we need to be able to have safer passage for our pedestrians.”
Schienbein suggested looking at other alternatives such as painting a line on the pavement to mark a pedestrian passage.
Director Ross said that would be the cheapest alternative.
“It’s not a glamours concrete sidewalk, but at least it’s something better than doing nothing at all, because $535,000 is a lot of money for a sidewalk,” he said.
Councillor Riis-Christianson added that designating an area for both pedestrians and cyclists on village streets could be used to promote Burns Lake in the future.
The estimated cost of painting a line on Centre Street – between Home Hardware and Third Avenue – would be between $25,000 to $30,000. Sheryl Worthing, Chief Administrative Officer for the Village of Burns Lake, reminded councillors that the village would have to repaint the line at least once every second year.
Councillor John Illes said painting the line would be worth a try to see if a shared cyclist-pedestrian lane would be used by the public.
“I do see the need to repaint every year, but if it’s utilized I think it’s worth it,” he said.
Councillor Riis-Christianson added, “It’s only a painted line, but psychologically it makes a difference.”