A Third Street resident had hoped Courtenay council could overturn its decision to replace the sidewalk on both sides of the road between Duncan and England avenues — part of a retrofit project in the Old Orchard neighbourhood. However, a bylaw in this instance prevents council from reconsidering the matter.
At first, Steve Schoenhoff was happy to not have a new sidewalk, but he said a neighbour wanted one. Now he and three others have petitioned against it.
“Unfortunately, we discovered that they’re going to destroy our front yards in order to put in a sidewalk closer to our properties,” Schoenhoff said. “You could almost reach my house from what will be the new position of the sidewalk. It’s a step off the sidewalk onto my top step.”
At its June 13 meeting — upon hearing complaints the project would only replace the sidewalk on the south side of the street — council directed staff to modify the design to include a sidewalk on both sides of Third, at a cost of about $30,000. The vote was 4-2 in favour. Mayor Larry Jangula and Coun. Erik Eriksson were opposed.
The rationale for Bylaw 2730 concerns a series of events with this type of project. The City has already spent about $5,000 on engineering and arborist fees. It’s also issued a change order to the contractor. Both parties have made a contractual obligation for an additional cost of about $23,500 for the sidewalk installation.
In addition, delays due to further changes would be costly in terms of time and money, possibly preventing the project from being completed during the 2016 construction season, CAO David Allen said.
He notes too that impacted vegetation is located on, or encroaching onto, the City-owned road right-of-way.
“The design decisions for this project, as with any infrastructure project, were not made lightly, and involved countless considerations by our own engineering staff as well as the consulting engineers,” Allen said.
“In short, as with all of our major infrastructure projects, the City has engaged with local residents over the past several months on these proposed changes, and has incorporated neighbourhood feedback, as well as local design guidelines and engineering best-practices into the project.”