Project planned for completion this fall, pending provincial approval
UPPER NAPPAN – A long debated sidewalk from the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre into the town of Amherst could become a reality this fall, now that county council has approved the project in principle.
Council voted to move ahead with the work at its July 17 session. The public has been calling for a safer pedestrian traveling route to the hospital since it was opened 10 years ago.
The work will now move ahead pending approval from the provincial department of transportation and infrastructure renewal.
Deputy warden Don Smith, who has been working on the issue since he was elected to council last fall, made the motion to move ahead with the project. He said he was pleased with the step forward by council.
“I’m pretty happy about it and I hope the residents out this way are too,” he said. “Marilyn Thompson was key in trying to get this organized, and hopefully people use it.”
Not every councillor was in favour of the motion, however, as both John Kellegrew and Mike McLellan voted against it.
Kellegrew said he is not worried about the sidewalk, but the crossings that will be necessary over the ramps on and off the Trans-Canada highway, for people walking and using motorized wheelchairs and scooters.
“It’s not going to be one bit safer for people going across those intersections, and it’s a lot of money,” he said. “I think it’s going to be more dangerous than it is now.”
Although traffic coming off the highway is faced with a 50 km/h speed limit, Kellegrew said most cars are coming off at speeds closer to 100 km/h.
Staffers Emily Burke and Ron Patterson presented public survey information showing a great number of people who live and work in the area are in favour of the sidewalk.
Council has budgeted $240,000 for the work, while the town of Amherst has agreed to cover the cost of the sidewalk portion located within town limits, and the Cumberland Health Authority has agreed to pay for the portion located on hospital property.