Council moves trail work ahead

Safety concerns are being addressed in one Vernon neighbourhood.

Safety concerns are being addressed in one Vernon neighbourhood.

Council has given the nod, in principle, to improvements to a trail between 25th and 19th avenues next to the sewer treatment plant.

“This trail connects a substantially sized community to amenities,” said Coun. Catherine Lord of nearby grocery stores, restaurants and banks.

A 50-name petition was presented to the city  last August demanding improvements to the path and specifically lighting.

Staff had recommended that no improvements to the path be considered until an audit of all paths and connectors in Vernon and integration of the audit into the sustainable infrastructure investment plan.

“As there are a variety of facilities in the city, it is important to quantify the primary purpose of each facility in order to justify the benefit of the proposed improvements to that specific facility and the funding source for the work,” states a staff report.

A study could take a year to complete and that recommendation did not go over well with most of council.

“We need to look at this trail in a different light than trails for recreation,” said Coun. Juliette Cunningham of the role it plays in linking residents to services.

Lord points out that one light on the trail was originally sought and staff first made the case for six lights and now a study is being sought.

“Can’t we be a little more logical and have common sense? We don’t need a city-wide study,” she said.

“There are some real concerns in this one area.”

The only opposition to proceeding with the project came from Mayor Rob Sawatzky, who says that the work cannot be done in isolation from other demands facing the city.

“It’s not good government that the loudest gets the service,” he said, adding that a variety of background information is needed before agreeing to an expenditure.