St. Catharines council goes against recommendation on subdivision sidewalks

CKTB - NEWS - Sidewalk wheelchair

The Mayor of St. Catharines is calling a decision about sidewalks in a new subdivision 'a compromise.'

Residents in a new Merritton subdivision have asked council to allow the developer to leave out sidewalks in the interest of having more driveway space.

On Monday, council agreed to only force sidewalks to be installed on one side of the street since the other side begins and ends at a dead end.

"It was a compromise, but I do think folks have to become more aware that sidewalks are an important part of the walkability and the safety of our community for young folks, for people with mobility issues, for older folks, for anybody who wants to stay off the road." Mayor Walter Sendzik says. "There are folks who have mobility issues who even in the wintertime it's challenging - they don't want to be on the road! You have someone who's in a wheelchair, why are we putting them on the road, in jeopardy of someone not seeing them and hitting them? They deserve to be on the sidewalk just like every other person in our community and in a safe space. So last night was a bit of a compromise, but the public has to understand sidewalks are here to stay, and we need to put in more sidewalks, not less."

Chair of the Accessibility Advisory Committee, Diane Foster, explained her confusion at the decision given that last time this issue came up council sought the advice of the committee.

"I come back with the report from the committee who unanimously motioned to have sidewalks put in on both sides of the street, and not go against the City's own policies, and then they go against it."

She adds, "The safety of the pedestrians on the sidewalks and streets is more important than you having access to four parking spaces. And because you want to use your garage for something other than the purpose for which it was built, that's your issue, not ours, to provide two additional spaces in your driveway."