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Administration respond to Coalhurst sidewalk inquiry

Posted on June 29, 2023 by Sunny South News

By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News

A council inquiry hopes to start a conversation on beautifying Coalhurst.

During their regular June 20 meeting, Coalhurst town council discussed an inquiry on implementing a town-wide sidewalk edging program.

“I put in this inquiry to administration as a question about the sidewalks and overgrowth as this is something I’ve been noticing a bit more in town lately and was not clear on the process for encouraging individual (properties) to enforce the overgrowth on very bad yards in specific cases,” said coun. Deborah Florence.

One goal of council’s Strategic Plan, under Piller C: Land and Environment, is to make the Coalhurst an attractive place to live. One way council could help achieve this is to get the community to help in beautifying the town, such as keeping sidewalks trimmed and in good repair. Under the same pillar, it also speaks on protecting and honouring the land where the community is built upon, which involves keeping their storm water and run off clean, keeping the sidewalks clear to help with proper absorption into the lawn, rather than the street, and ensuring that sidewalks are clean, clear, walkable and accessible.

While the town is still in the process of creating a new community standards bylaw, a few policies – the Boulevard and Alley Maintenance, Unsightly Premises and Sidewalk Maintenance policies – are related to this topic. However, while they touch on the homeowner’s responsibility regarding sidewalks and alleyways, they do not directly address the issue.

Florence noted that conversations such as this “have to start somewhere”, and she wanted to start the conversation on town beautification and “get the ball rolling” in terms of the tools they already have and what council can do to bring about change.

In a response from town administration, the town’s Traffic Bylaw does address sidewalk obstructions, such as in section 19.1, which states, “All persons owning or controlling properties within the Town shall remove and clear away all snow, ice, dirt and other obstructions from the sidewalk(s) adjoining their property within forty-eight (48) hours of the time that such snow, ice, dirt or other obstruction was deposited”.

According to town administration, obstructions include growth from lawns onto sidewalks in the event the growth becomes either an obstruction or is significant enough to warrant action. The relevant sections in the Traffic Bylaw provide Bylaw Enforcement with the tools to deal with cases discretionally.

If council desired to do so, the town could create a social media campaign to promote obstruction-free sidewalks and the value of taking care of your community. Florence voiced support for doing such a campaign in the future.

Council passed a motion to accept the report for information.

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