Dufferin Crescent is set to become a little more pedestrian-friendly.
The City of Nanaimo’s finance and audit committee recommended this week the construction of sidewalks along the south side of Dufferin near Boundary Avenue.
“Given the amount of inquiries and the growth in that area from Bowen Road to the hospital and the amount of traffic that is on that road, pedestrians and otherwise, it’s an easy justification for me…” said Coun. Bill Bestwick. “This has been on the books for several years and I’m happy we’re going to be able to help that area with this recommendation.”
The project will cost $300,000, which will come from the pedestrian transportation improvements unallocated fund.
“The intention with this fund was to be able to accelerate pedestrian projects that would otherwise have to wait years down the road for funding to be available,” said Poul Rosen, the city’s senior manager of engineering.
He said with the amount of time it takes to develop, design and prepare for a construction project, “the most straight-forward approach for this year” was to push forward a planned 2019 project to 2018.
Rosen said the missing Dufferin sidewalk has been on the city’s to-do list since 2014, has been in design for several months and he believes it can be constructed this year.
COLUMN: How to go about getting a sidewalk
Coun. Diane Brennan expressed concern that the pedestrian transportation improvements unallocated fund could invite “political interference” and asked whether it would be used for projects that are staff recommendations or council requests. Bill Sims, senior manager of public works, said the fund could be used for either.
“If council has a particular project that they’re getting public pressure on, then that’s council’s prerogative,” he said.
Coun. Sheryl Armstrong said sidewalks along Dufferin are a priority for her.
“I think this should be done,” she said. “I’m there every day and I can see there’s so many pedestrians down there.”
The committee unanimously recommended that council allocate the money to move forward with the project.