School board wants action on sidewalk issue
Evergreen Hill Road in Simcoe. (File photo)
The Catholic school board isn’t willing to wait until 2023 to see sidewalks installed on Evergreen Hill Road in Simcoe.
In a letter sent to Norfolk Council earlier this summer, Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk Catholic District School chair Rick Petrella reiterated the board’s wishes to have a sidewalk along all of the roadway - which houses Holy Trinity Catholic High School - sooner rather than later.
Two years ago Norfolk approved a sidewalk installation that would stretch from Queen Street to Norfolk St. South, but an engineer’s report filed in January said that would be a difficult venture due to a large number of steep driveways on the road and mature trees near the road allowance. The odd elevation would require retaining walls and come with a hefty price tag.
Council deferred the matter until either 2022 or 2023, at which point the road should be due for reconstruction. However, the matter is expected to be discussed again at an upcoming council meeting. It will also be tabled at the capital budget deliberations in October.
“Sidewalks serve as significant safety enhancements for pedestrians and are important to provide accessible transportation options for people with disabilities,” Petrella wrote. “In the absence of sidewalks, school-age children walk to and from school on roadways and passageways that are not designed for pedestrian traffic. Lack of sidewalks create unsafe conditions, especially in winter months.”
“That this request has been standing since the inception of the school in 2001 its deferral to 2023 is completely unacceptable.”
The letter also points out any student living within 3.5 kilometres of the school are not provided bus transportation and as a result, a “significant portion” of pupils walk to and from the facility each day.
“I have witnessed kids walking to school in the morning up to their knees in snow and it’s a struggle,” Norfolk Mayor Charlie Luke said Thursday. “There’s just no place for them on the road to walk the way the traffic is so something has to be done.”
See sidewalk | A2
SIDEWALK from A1
Luke wondered aloud if installing a sidewalk a portion of the way towards Elm Street, which is where the existing sidewalk begins, would work but that could still create traffic issues.
“Let’s say you’ve got 1,000 feet of road with no sidewalk, does it make sense if you can put in 800 feet, have you solved the problem 80 per cent?” the Mayor asked. “Is that viable? But then where do you go, do you continue to walk on a steep slope in winter - so have you really solved 80 per cent, but caused a safety hazard to the public for the last 200 feet?”
“We’ll have another good look at this in October and see if we can put our heads together and come up with something. It’s a shame we haven’t had this solved by now.”