A well-used road to one of Lantzville’s beaches is slated to be repaved and local politicians want more input from the residents.
The District of Lantzville is planning to a begin a roadwork project at Sebastion Road that will cost roughly $900,000. Repaving will take place once the third phase of the district’s $6.9-million sanitary sewer project is completed.
According to documents available on the district’s website, the proposed redesign for Sebastion Road would include a dedicated sidewalk on the south side of the street, at least six parking stalls, speed bumps and a turnaround area at the end of the street.
Residents can provide feedback on the proposed changes at an upcoming open house on Dec. 2 at Lantzville’s district hall. The open house runs from 4-6 p.m.
The decision to hold an open house comes following a decision by councillors earlier this month. During a committee of the whole meeting on Nov. 13, councillors discussed the proposed changes, mainly focusing on safety and whether more public consultation on the design was needed.
Fred Spears, the district’s director of public works, told councillors that the Sebastion Road sewer project and asphalt replacement project is expected to go to tender in January. He said when it comes to road design, staff’s main priority is safety.
“The safety of pedestrian traffic as it is today, is not there. There is no safety net,” he said.
Coun. Ian Savage said he would prefer to hear more from the public on the matter before any final decisions are made.
“I’d just like more input from residents to see what is feasible to incorporate some of these changes, especially the bathroom, where the best spot might be, might it be best to be part of the lift station, for example? That sort of thing…” he said. “Even small changes like this green space … will show that you know, there was an effort to listen to [the residents], but there really hasn’t been any consultation with the greater public at large, just with the residents of Sebastion.”
Lantzville Mayor Mark Swain agreed, saying that the whole matter regarding Sebastion Road needs input from the broader community, not just residents in the immediate area.
Coun. Karen Proctor said based on the response from residents, its clear that the project is an “especially emotional issue” for the community.
“It’s not simply resurfacing a road,” she said. “It’s everyone’s access to the beach and most of the people that I talk to love living here because they can go to the beach and the favourite is obviously Sebastion Road, so everyone in the community feels that their quality of life is affected by this road, so I understand why people are so interested in it.”
Proctor said there are misconceptions about parking along Sebastion Road being dramatically reduced, adding that the only parking that is being removed is along Venture Road due to “safety” issues. She said she’s fine with having additional public input as long as it takes place soon and doesn’t delay the project.
“I feel responsible, and I think we all should be, to the budget,” she said. “So to extend this project, to make it cost more because we’re questioning engineered standards, to me that seems really irresponsible.”
Council was elected to make policy decisions, not engineering decisions said Coun. Will Geselbracht, adding that the project should proceed forward as is and that councillors focus shouldn’t be on beach road ends, but rather on repairing other roads in Lantzville.
“I would rather be more concerned about when are we going to repave Dickenson Road? When are we going to repave the road in front of my house? When are we going to repave Aulds Roads, which are major arteries coming in and out of Lantzville?” Geselbracht asked. “It’s a bucking bronco riding going down Dickenson right now. I don’t see that in the budget? Oh yes, that is right, we are talking about a budget and a fairly hefty increase. Let’s come back to reality, folks.”
Geselbracht said council cannot please everyone and that safety should be a priority for Sebastion Road.
“We are talking about whether we should put a sidewalk down Sebastion when the traffic is so bad in the summer, kids are running down there, kayakers are coming down there and we don’t think we want a sidewalk for safety? Give your head a shake,” he said.
No specific date was set for the public input period. Coun. Jamie Wilson was not in attendance.
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