Nova Scotia

Municipality of Pictou County votes to delay starting sidewalk project

Some Pictou residents are upset after councillors voted to delay starting a sidewalk project until a pedestrian count is done.

Decision is not sitting well with some residents

The councillor who represents the area, Andy Thompson, calls the lack of sidewalks 'absolutely atrocious.' (Brittany Currie)

A decision by the Municipality of Pictou County council to delay the start of a sidewalk project has upset local residents.

On Jan. 10, councillors discussed awarding a tender worth $66,886 to CBCL for the design of a sidewalk in the Blue Acres area. People currently have to walk on a dirt path along the side of the highway.

The path connects Stellarton and New Glasgow but is on county land.

Andy Thompson, the councillor who represents the area, told the council meeting a sidewalk is desperately needed.

"After a heavy rain it's just like a scene from Slumdog Millionaire, it's absolutely atrocious."

But Coun. David Parker asked for the decision to be put on hold until a pedestrian count can be done.

"There's just a whole lot we don't know," said Parker.

Council voted 6-5 in favour of the delay.

Reaction to the decision on the county's Facebook page is mainly negative.

"It's outrageous that there is still resistance to this,' wrote John McMullin.

Tony Corbin, a school teacher and a member of a local running club, is also upset with the move.

"There's been pedestrians going through there for 20 years and our population is increasing," said Corbin. "The fact that there's not a sidewalk, and they're putting it off again, boggles my mind."

This photo shows a person walking on the road because the dirt path between Stellarton, N.S., and New Glasgow, N.S., is covered with snow. (Brittany Currie)

Parker told Corbin in an email that the primary users are from the towns of New Glasgow and Stellarton, and the province should also be at the table.

"Suggesting that because a 700-metre section happens to be in the county and therefore we are totally responsible is simplistic at best," wrote Parker.

The councillor also insisted the county's sidewalk policy has not been followed.

But Corbin thinks Pictou County could still ask for costs to be shared after it gets a design and an estimated price for the project.

'Somebody has to do something about it," said Corbin. "They have to start at some point. It's needed. It's obvious there's a safety issue, there's an accessibility issue."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pam Berman

Reporter

Pam Berman is CBC Nova Scotia's municipal affairs reporter. She's been a journalist for almost 35 years and has covered Halifax regional council since 1997. That includes four municipal elections, 19 budgets and countless meetings. Story ideas can be sent to pam.berman@cbc.ca

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