Residents of Maplecroft Court in Gananoque can breathe a sigh of relief.
Every resident of the subdivision signed a petition asking council to forgo the requirement for sidewalks on their cul-de-sac. Although staff recommended that council stay the course, a unanimous decision was made to honour residents' wishes, but keep options open for sidewalks to be installed at a future date if warranted.
"It's a cul-de-sac and sidewalks wouldn't connect to anywhere, and there are no immediate plans to make a connection, besides none of the residents are interested in having sidewalks, and there doesn't seem to be a need for them. So if 10 years down the road there is a need, we can still revisit the issue. In the meantime we can utilize the funds elsewhere," said Coun. Dave Osmond.
Maplecroft Court is located off MacDonald Drive, and is about 152 meters (500 feet) long. Because the developer installed mountable curbs along the length of the street, the proposed sidewalk would have had to be installed 3.65 meters (12 feet) from the curb to ensure pedestrian safety.
"Should the sidewalk be put in it will cut through our lawns and gardens," said Maplecroft Court resident Lana Marion.
As Paul McMunn, manager of public works, pointed out, residents of the subdivision knew at the time of purchase that the sidewalks were planned and where they would be installed.
As far as the location of the sidewalk, it's a safety issue according to McMunn.
"A mountable curb on either side of the asphalt doesn't offer pedestrians very much protection; if there had been a five or six-inch curb it would have provided some protection," said McMunn, adding that mountable curbs are something developers prefer, because they negate the need to create depressions at ever driveway when they're building.
"It’s a cul-de-sac. A sidewalk there goes from nowhere to nowhere, when that amount of money could be used to install sidewalks where they are needed, or to repair sidewalks that need repairs," said Mayor Ted Lojko.
When the subdivision was approved in 2018, the cost of the sidewalks was estimated at $15,000, but as McMunn points out, that was before individual driveways and walkways had been paved and extended to the curb.
Staff have been directed to go back to the developer and revise the cost estimates to come up with a more realistic cash-in-lieu scenario.
Heddy Sorour, Local Journalism Initiative, Brockville Recorder and Times