A Coldstream resident says there is a need for a sidewalk along one of the district’s main traffic arteries.
However, the last time the district pursued the idea, they ran into an exorbitant price tag and a lack of available land for such an undertaking.
Aberdeen Road runs from Highway 6 near the Regional District of North Okanagan offices to Kalamalka Road. With a steady flow of north-south traffic, it’s also a favourite route for walkers, cyclists and young students at Coldstream Elementary, located near the road’s south end.
Jillian Galeazzi started an online petition calling for the district to add a sidewalk to the well-used road.
“This road is in desperate need of a sidewalk to keep these kids healthy and safe,” reads the petition. “Let’s make this happen before there is an incident that requires it.”
The call to sidewalk the road is nothing new. Residents brought forward a similar request to Coldstream council several years ago, seeking a multi-use path and sidewalk on Aberdeen from Venables to the front of the fire hall, according to Chief Administrative Officer Trevor Seibel.
“There were some significant challenges identified, most notably the lack of land available,” he said, explaining that affected property owners were not interested in giving up land needed for a sidewalk at the time.
The estimated cost of the project was well over $1 million, he said, and that was before conversations had even been started with the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC). Council ultimately said no to the request at the time.
While there are no sidewalks on Aberdeen, the road has paved multi-use shoulders on either side — improvements that were listed as priorities in a 2007 Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan. Policies for developing shoulders for bikes and pedestrians along Aberdeen Rd. are also spelled out in the district’s Official Community Plan (OCP).
The district is not currently looking at an Aberdeen Road sidewalk project given the challenges faced in the last go-around, but Seibel said there could potentially be an opportunity down the road.
Council currently has its sights set on a sanitary sewer line project on Aberdeen, though the project is not imminent and the precise timeline is undetermined.
“This would be a major undertaking but there may be a willingness to look at whether sidewalks could be designed at that time, as the road will be dug up when the sanitary sewer line goes in,” Seibel said.
Seibel also noted that online petitions don’t require any action; petitioners must provide the petition in writing to the District Corporate Officer to have any official influence on council.
More than 240 people have signed the petition since it was started Wednesday, May 12.