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Elmira’s Barnswallow Drive to get a temporary sidewalk, council decides

A temporary sidewalk is in the works for a pedestrian-unfriendly stretch of Elmira’s Barnswallow Drive. Woolwich councillors were swayed by a pair of delegates who appeared at last week’s budget meeting, ultimately deciding to allocate $15,000 towards the project.

The focus will be on providing a walkway alongside the road between Aspen Crescent and Brookmead Street, an interim measure ahead of a planned reconstruction of Barnswallow Drive in 2018.

While that project will include a proper sidewalk covering the now-disjointed route between First and Church streets, the residents who appeared at council January 23 were not prepared to wait another four years.

“One day there will be a serious accident on this road,” said Carol Jongerius. “We can’t wait until 2018 for anything to be done.

“It needs a solution this summer before something very preventable happens.”

She suggested something temporary like asphalt or even a wooden boardwalk be used as a stopgap measure.

Muscovey Drive resident Brendan Lowther said the lack of contiguous sidewalks posed a safety hazard, particularly to families out with young kids.

Councillors agreed with that assessment, though the nature of the solution has yet to be determined.

Dan Kennaley, the township’s director of engineering and planning, noted that a full reconstruction slated for 2018 means any work done this year would be a “throwaway cost.” He estimated the cost of a paved walkway at $30,000 or a stone-dust trail at $20,000-$25,000, suggesting pedestrians make use with alternative, albeit somewhat winding routes to find sidewalks in the neighbourhood.

Existing drainage issues and the need for a proper gravel base is what elevates the cost of even a temporary pathway, he explained.

Calling those cost estimates “exorbitant,” Coun. Mark Bauman said the township should look at options for about $15,000 – “I’m not prepared to spend a lot of money.”

He proposed concentrating on the gap between Aspen Crescent and Brookmead Street – “It’s the missing link.”

Pointing out there’s no money available in the 2014 budget to cover even the reduced amount, Kennaley said the cost could be covered by drawing on reserve funds.

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