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December 5, 2020 December 5, 2020

Picture Butte council discusses sidewalk replacement letters

Posted on November 17, 2020 by Sunny South News

By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News

Letters on the state of a stretch of sidewalk on Rogers Avenue prompted discussion during a Picture Butte town council meeting.

During their regular Oct. 26 meeting, council had discussed two letters they’ve received concerning sidewalks on Rogers Avenue.

In both letters — which were written by residents of Rogers Avenue — they raised issues with the state of the sidewalk in the 500-block stretch of Rogers Avenue.

One letter-writer wrote of difficultly an older relative who uses a walker had walking the “deplorable” condition of the south side of the street, noting severe spalling, cracked, uneven surfaces, disintegrating concrete, and very rough, gravelly surfaces, and in areas were new concrete was poured over top of the existing sidewalk it was almost worse than the old concrete it replaced. They questioned why the town was doing work downtown when there were other areas that need the sidewalk work.

The second letter-writer said the section was in “complete ruin” and they’ve seen people fall in that section. Both letter-writers ask for council to address this issue.

Mayor Cathy Moore asked if it was too late in the year to start doing work on sidewalks. Town CAO Keith Davis said that for this year, the sidewalk budget had gone into downtown, and “unfortunately”, there is a limited amount of money for sidewalks. In previous years, sidewalk replacements had been done based on their condition, which is determined based on the town’s infrastructure assessment plan, community feedback and staff observations.

Moore asked if their director of operations, Chad Parsons, had gone out to look at the affected area. Davis replied that he hasn’t yet and was unaware of the letter, to which Moore said he should look at it to see “how bad it is”.

Director of Emergency Services Frank West said he had history with that area as the town’s former director of operations, and called that block “my nemesis”.

“It’s well identified as an issue,” said West. “There has been some previous work, I believe in 2014 and 2015. The town had invested quite a few long stretches of sidewalk replacement along that block, that through, I don’t have the exact history, but the work was not what I would have but as my quality as time of director of operations, it was a little sub-par work by my definition. And I know I had this conversation with council at least once during my time as director of operations, it was a problem area, we wanted to look at some permanent, long-term solutions.

West noted that during his time in operations, he had received a lot of complaints about drainage in that area, such as flooding back-up due to the sidewalk going below grade or deteriorated to the point where it doesn’t hold back the water anymore. They had even had an assessment done on it, with Davis taking up the issue with Alberta Transportation and discuss storm water options. Rogers Avenue marks the end of Highway 519, which falls under the Alberta Transportation’s jurisdiction.

“It really needs a block-long improvement to get the grade back where it was. The highway overlay has been a challenge for us; the highway’s a lot higher than when the sidewalks originally went in, storm water is an issue. It’s a big issue to completely renovate.”

West noted that some patching and grinding had been done during his time because there was “some significant trip hazards”, and while he hadn’t walked it recently, “it would not surprise me if those trip hazards had resurfaced”.

When asked what happened with the Department of Transportation, Davis said nothing has come from them. Coun. Joe Watson asked if they could send the letters onto Alberta Transportation.

West added that in a meeting with Alberta Transportation they were “very receptive to the fact there’s an issue on Roger’s Avenue”, and encouraged the town to engage an engineer to solve the issue, and had provided some funding towards it. However, West added they needed to continue to advocate for it “especially in our current provincial economy and our current provincial environment”.

Council passed a motion for administration to send a letter back to the letter-writers to let them know the town is aware of the issues and in contact with the Department of Transportation to address the issue.

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