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News archive for January 7, 2014

Black Street project offers lessons, council told

It’s been more than a year since Black Street received a make-over, with new water and sewer mains, pavement and a roundabout, among other features.

By Stephanie Waddell on January 7, 2014 at 4:12 pm

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

ROUNDABOUT, COMMUNICATION SPUR CONCERNS–Some downtown residents have said they dontʼ consider the roundabout at Sixth Avenue and Black Street safe to negotiate, says Nathan Millar, seen Monday evening during his presentation to city council.

It’s been more than a year since Black Street received a make-over, with new water and sewer mains, pavement and a roundabout, among other features.

Not everyone, however, is seeing the changes as improvements, as city council learned Monday evening.

In a presentation to council, Black Street resident Nathan Millar brought forward recommendations for the city to use in future local improvement charge projects.

Under local improvement charges – as was the case for the upgrades to Black Street – the city charges benefiting property owners for a portion of the improvement projects.

As Millar told council Monday, a recent survey of area residents he conducted found mixed reactions to the overall project.

Most residents stated they don’t like the roundabout at Sixth Avenue, saying there have been “lots of near misses.”

He also heard from a number of people who avoid the intersection because they don’t feel safe there.

Others told him they would have liked better guidance on the operation of the recirculation pumps installed in Black Street homes to protect pipes through the winter.

The survey was Millar’s own initiative, which came about after he heard neighbours discussing the changes.

Millar had been vocal in his opposition to the changes early on in the process.

There were also a number of communications issues during the work.

Last night, he pointed to the steps the city could take to improve the Black Street situation. Those include putting constraints on the Sixth Avenue entrance into the roundabout.

He went on to list his main recommendations for similar projects in the future.

Those include providing written information to residents on the operation of the recirculation pumps, which are becoming standard for such projects, and providing a single point-person residents can contact if there is an issue on a project.

Following Millar’s presentation, Coun. Kirk Cameron commented that perhaps this kind of follow-up should happen with all local improvement charges.

Both Cameron and Coun. Betty Irwin acknowledged that a lot of the issues seemed to be around communication with residents.

Millar’s point on having one person residents can approach about the project is “well-taken,” Irwin said.

Later in the meeting, during discussion on the contract award for consulting services for the Ogilvie Street project, Cameron suggested the city take time to consider Millar’s survey in more detail before deciding how to proceed.

“We might as well use it right away,” he said of Millar’s work.

It was recommended Associated Engineering Ltd. be awarded the consulting contract for $546,984.

It was one of three companies to submit a bid on the work, but the only company to pass the technical threshold before prices are reviewed.

The project will see reconstruction of Ogilvie Street from Fourth Avenue to Sixth Avenue this year and from Sixth to the escarpment next year.

The contract is scheduled to come back to council for a vote next week.

Councillors Mike Gladish and Dave Stockdale were absent from Monday’s meeting.

CommentsAdd a comment

Mike Pearson

Jan 7, 2014 at 10:03 pm

This is another example of incomplete planning by the city.
Many unhappy people as limited planning is initiated for Black Street.
Many unhappy people after the city moves forward and undertakes work that is half baked.
I wish the city would just think it through rather than continually using superficial planning which inevitably costs the taxpayer money and seldom is the right thing to do.
If the city keeps it up this city will look like a trainwreck.

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