Construction begins as fight continues against $6.4M sidewalk expansion
'We consider it to be a waste of money'
Residents along Point Grey Road continue to fight against a $6.4 million sidewalk expansion even as construction begins.
Crews began water and sewer upgrades, Wednesday, between Bayswater and Balaclava streets as part of the 28-kilometre continuous Seaside Greenway project.
The project, approved by council in May, will see the sidewalks widened from 1.8 metres to three metres and will connect the seawall that runs through the city's waterfront along the Convention Centre and Stanley Park through to Spanish Banks, Jericho Beach and UBC.
Residents along the eight block stretch, dubbed the Golden Mile, say that money could be spent on other things.
"I don't mind taking 10 feet away [of width] if you're going to feed the poor, create jobs ... do something but to widen a sidewalk?" said resident Nelson Skalbania.
The project, which comes two years after the city limited vehicles on the street to local traffic only, will also mean the addition of public amenities such as benches and fountains.
"We consider it to be a waste of money to do further repairs and changes to this road," said Fiona Brodie, who lives nearby.
"We don't think it is a priority — $6.5 million could do a lot for the youth of the city and residents here. A majority of residents don't like what is happening here," said Brodie.
The city says the north sidewalk will be widened to a consistent three-metres, which will enhance safety along the road, but residents opposed say, even on a sunny day, few pedestrians use the sidewalk.
The improvements are all on city-owned land, but many homeowners have landscaped the easement. As a result of the construction, some of those trees will be removed.
The city says it plans to replace those trees and plant an additional 44 trees.
The project is set to be completed by the summer of 2017.