Kitimat Council looks at walkways

A walking tour took councilors outside during a recent Committee of the Whole meeting.

Should the town be considering extending the walkway system to go through Coghlin Park at the viewpoint?

The Kitimat Heritage Group posed that question when they joined councillors for a tour of some of the town’s walkways last week during a Committee of the Whole meeting.

The full council, some staff and the committee members embarked on an unusual outdoors meeting for part of the evening on June 24 to see walkways which may need work, some which have almost completely disappeared underneath growth.

But before anyone took off on the tour, the two sides gathered to find out their concerns.

Among those was from Heritage Committee member Walter Thorne, who emphasized the importance of the system to the community.

“We would like, as a group, to suggest that that walkway would be very much in keeping with the original plan and the original intent of how things were seen,” he said.

Those plans, he hopes, would be to see a Coghlin Park extension on the walkway.

“The crowning of our sidewalk system would be to connect the existing Haisla Hill one somehow, to one that would go by Coghlin Park…preferably on the water side,” he said.

Director of Engineering Tim Gleig said that a Coghlin Park system hasn’t been officially discussed in some years, but a report was made once on the prospect by the Leisure Services department, which pegged it at a $750,000 price tag.

Speaking after the walking tour, Heritage Group member Peter Ponter said the purpose of the walk was to give councillors a better understanding of the walkway system.

“When I first came to Kitimat it was one of the things that I was impressed with, the walkway system,” he said. “It’s unusual that there are places that might be quicker to walk to than drive.”

The heritage component is also crucially important.

“[Kitimat] was built as a garden city, and there are other examples of places like this, but most of them are just part of a town, or part of a city, not the whole town.”

He added, “It seems like we have a ready-made opportunity to help people exercise. You could call our walkways an investment in health care.”

Mayor Joanne Monaghan says maintaining the town’s walkways are a priority for her as the demographics keep shifting to an older community.

“As we have an aging population and many of the seniors now have the ability to be in these electric scooters, it would be nice to have all of our walkways intact as they were when the town was built.

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