AMHERST – A sidewalk from Amherst to the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre will be a priority of the Municipality of Cumberland in 2013.
Speaking to members of the Amherst Rotary Club on Monday, Cumberland County Warden Keith Hunter said the issue, raised again during the October municipal election, remains on the county’s radar and he’d like to see something happen this year.
“It’s something that has been a long time coming,” Hunter said. “It’s something we’ve been working on for many years and we really hope to see some movement on this very soon.”
Hunter and county CAO Rennie Bugley said the municipality is preparing to have a pre-design study done that would look at options for extending a sidewalk from town boundary to the hospital.
Building the sidewalk is not the issue, the warden said, getting it through the on and off ramps to the Trans-Canada Highway could be more difficult.
“In the past the department has told us there was nothing they could do, but they have told us they are willing to work with us on finding a solution,” the warden said.
The warden said the town has been very co-operative on the matter, as has the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. The town is considering extending its own sidewalk network further along South Albion Street to the county line. The present sidewalk stops at Robert Angus Drive.
Hunter said no timeline has been set, but he remains optimistic it can be completed this year.
“There’s no question that something needs to be done. You have a lot of people going to and from the hospital walking and using motorized scooters,” the warden said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to get a sidewalk in there to make it much safer.”
In the weeks leading up to the Oct. 20 municipal vote, District 1 candidate Marilyn Thompson presented a petition signed by a number of Upper Nappan area residents to the Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Department’s Amherst office expressing concern with the lack of a sidewalk and the speed of traffic at the intersection between Highway 2, the Blair Lake Road and the hospital entrance.
A copy of the petition was also presented to municipal council.
During his presentation to Rotary, Hunter talked about the county’s accomplishments in the last year and looked forward to 2013. He said infrastructure renewal is at the forefront with plans for wastewater treatment systems and water systems in various areas of the county.
The county, he added, will continue to implement the Pugwash master plan and hopes sometime to see a new marina developed for the village along with a multi-purpose centre and library.
“Pugwash is definitely a growth area,” the warden said. “A permanent marina facility would be a major addition to the community. There are a lot of boaters using the Northumberland Strait and Pugwash is missing out because it doesn’t have the facilities. We have the services in Pugwash and we have a good harbor. A marina would be a key addition and would be of great benefit to the area’s economic development.”
The warden also took the time to comment on his municipality’s relationship with Amherst. He admitted there are times when the two municipal units don’t agree, but he said the relationship between Amherst and Cumberland County is amicable.
“You hear in the media that we don’t get along, but in reality the relationship is a good one. We work well together and there are plenty of examples of it,” the warden said. “There are some issues on which we don’t agree, but for the most part our relationship is strong.”