Accessibility will be front and centre come budget time, following unanimous support by Kamloops council to push the issue.
Council has voted unanimously to support Coun. Sadie Hunter’s motion to seek options and/or business cases for accessibility projects in the 2020 five-year financial plan.
“I do think that it’s really important that we’re intentional, in terms of making sure that there is funding allocated for projects set to increase accessibility,” Hunter said.
“In my mind, $20,000 a year to go towards curb letdowns isn’t enough. That really only does two, so it could take four years to do a whole intersection at that rate. All I’m asking is to look at what we can do and how we can do better and then have a discussion about those options.”
Councillors agreed, with multiple councillors calling the initiative “important.”
However, some discussion centred around council priorities, with council charged with directing staff regarding its priorities heading into 2020.
While Coun. Arjun Singh suggesting council push the initiative back one year to 2021, an amendment to that affect had no backers.
Coun. Kathy Sinclair called it “somewhere to start,” noting she wants to get the ball rolling.
Mayor Ken Christian said tough decisions will come during budget time.
“What the public has to remember is there will be options presented about a number of supplemental items that will come before us this year,” he said.
“And we’re going to have to make decisions and weigh out this, which is a very noble pursuit, versus something perhaps along the lines of additional firefighters or whatever might be coming forward.
“So, all of those will go into the supplementary item hopper. Not all will be approved.”
WE ASKED YOU:
Kamloops This Week asked readers about areas in the city needing accessibility improvements and then we asked the city when it plans to address the issues.
KTW reader: A sidewalk comes to an abrupt end on Nicola and Battle streets downtown, forcing pedestrians to walk in the middle of the road on Second Avenue. Vehicles park on the curb and don’t leave space for pedestrians. Currently, Second Avenue is dug up. This would be an excellent opportunity to finish the sidewalk.
City of Kamloops: City development director Marvin Kwiatkowski said the city aims to have the Second Avenue sidewalk completed this year.
KTW reader: There is no way to cross the Trans-Canada Highway to Thompson Drive in a wheelchair or scooter. The underpass is blocked, with only pedestrians able to enter. In addition, the intersection pedestrian light crossings at River Road and Tanager Road have no cutouts in the islands. Both ways to cross the road are denied to a person in a wheelchair.
City of Kamloops: City development director Marvin Kwiatkowski said the city is looking to make improvements at Tanager Road in 2023. However, he noted that is subject to change. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure also needs to be on board to co-ordinate work related to the islands.