Iqaluit city council considers 'real' sidewalks

Iqaluit's engineering and public works committee is recommending the boulders and posts lining the city's streets be removed and that "real" sidewalks be built.

Councillor lobbies to replace rocks and posts with concrete walkways

Iqaluit city council has received complaints from residents about the rock and post barriers separating pedestrians from traffic, and about the height of snow piles along roads this winter. (CBC)

The City of Iqaluit Engineering and Public Works committee is recommending the boulders and posts lining the city's streets be removed and that "real" sidewalks be built.

City councillor Kenny Bell put forward the motion earlier this week to start removing the posts and rocks. He said the city has received multiple complaints about the barriers separating pedestrians from road traffic, including from the Nunavut Disabilities Association.

The city installed the rocks and posts after a coroner's inquest in the early 2000s to protect walkers from traffic after several deaths.

Keith Couture, Director of Public Works, told council if the city approves sidewalks they should make them out of concrete and they should be raised higher than the road for safety reasons. 

"When you have a long range plan, you should wait and have the whole plan rather than start doing nickel and diming, and that's just me," he said.

Later on in the meeting, Bell amended his motion after discussions between councillors. No rocks or posts will be removed until public works has a plan and legal opinions are obtained due to liability issues.

The decision to remove the barriers would still have to be approved by city council at a later date.

Complaints about snow piles

City council has also received complaints this winter about the height of snow piles along roads.

Couture said the Department of Public Works often gets blamed but local contractors are also at fault.

"We're out there moving snow; they're out there pushing it back," he said.

"It's a game and we get blamed for it and of course we’ve still got to get rid of the snow one way or the other because when it melts, it's going to flood, so we need enforcement. Which means we've got to get bylaw online to talk to these contractors to get them online with us."

Couture said snow has been compressed into culverts making drainage challenging as the snow melts.   Mayor John Graham suggested the Department be more proactive next winter by letting contractors know the rules before the snow flies.

There is a city bylaw which states snow piles located within five metres of an intersection can't be more than one metre in height.