Kimberley City Council has decided to wait to hear from the neighbourhood before proceeding with plans for the Norton Avenue Infrastructure Replacement project.
The project involves completing phase one, which started last year on the 100 block, and beginning construction on phase two; the 200 block.
Phase two as recommended involves removing the current sidewalk infrastructure and replacing it with gravel parking on one side and a paved multi-use path on the other, along with upgrades to curbs and gutters, as well as storm, water, and sanitary pipes.
Mayor Don McCormick says that he is uncomfortable approving the project without first speaking to the residents of both blocks, and he suggested Council wait to proceed until the neighbourhood has seen the plans.
He also pointed to a meeting that was held last summer with residents of Norton after construction had already began. McCormick says there was some negative feedback about the fact that residents weren’t notified of the plans prior to construction.
“It’s an excellent plan, staff have been through this with a fine tooth comb, but we have to do due process and make sure that we have that communication in place prior to passing the plan,” McCormick said.
Senior Operations Manager Chris Mummery says that timelines are tight for getting the project to the bidding process and completing construction before next winter.
Mummery explained in a report to Council that there are three options for them to choose from. The first option is the plan as recommended, the second option is to add a gravel shoulder and roll curb, which would cost an additional $60,000, and the third option is for a paved shoulder with curb and sidewalk. Option three would cost an additional $199,697, along with an amendment to the Financial Plan, or the establishment of a local service area.
A local service area allows residents to essentially petition for themselves pay for some of the additional costs through taxes.
Councillor Darryl Oakley says he would like to see the residents and City staff involved in a good healthy dialogue, however he says plans could change quite a bit, especially if residents decide to establish a local service area.
CAO Scott Sommerville says that the neighbourhood “has been aware” of the option for a local service area since last summer, and no one has come forward so far.
He added that the plans and 3D drawings will allow for better communication with residents around the proposed changes.
“A picture’s worth a thousand words,” he said. “I think it’s just a beautiful design and I find it hard to imagine that they would want to pay to upgrade over what’s being presented.”
Council voted to hold a public meeting, which will take place in the next few weeks. Council will then vote on the plan at a subsequent Regular Council Meeting.