There are good reasons to maintain sidewalks, Russell Rodgers writes. Photo: Tyler Harper

LETTER: Save our sidewalks

From reader Russell Rodgers

The City of Nelson has been demolishing sidewalks and not replacing them. For a town that prides itself on climate change awareness, this seems contradictory. Walking and biking are the not only the least carbon intensive means of travel, but the healthiest. Because of the hills, not everyone can bike, but most of us can walk. It’s a great way to experience our lovely town.

On Hoover Street, only one block from Trafalgar School, the city is not planning to replace the sidewalk they have removed on the north side of the street. On the same street, just two blocks from the school, they took out the sidewalk on the other side of the street. This means that students have to cross the street again to get to the remaining sidewalk, or just give up and walk on the street. This suggests safety issues as well as poor planning.

On Observatory Street, three blocks from the school, the sidewalks on the uphill side of the street have been removed. This is a main walking route to school from Rosemont. At first, I thought that it was a green-minded attempt to replace concrete with grass. However, local residents have put fences over the former sidewalk — thus encroaching on public property. The city has not done anything about this. Greening the sidewalks was obviously not part of the motivation.

If we want our citizens, and especially our children, to be healthy, we need to protect our historic walking privileges. Sidewalks encourage neighborly awareness and friendly encounters. Taking care of my parents in the U.S., I have spent time in subdivisions where there are no sidewalks. Unless one is walking a dog, there is a feeling of being under suspicion just for being there. People encapsulate themselves in their cars, and car culture shapes the layout of the city. Strip malls and franchises take the place of independent businesses. It feels emotionally alienated.

I think that even if concrete sidewalks are an expense, there are good reasons keep them, or at least find a creative substitute. Where the sidewalk on Hoover Street had been previously ripped out, one generous landowner put down landscape fabric and bark mulch. This is soft and pleasant to walk on. That particular block has many fine heritage houses and is on a heritage walking tour. But there’s no sidewalk on most of it.

I realize that much of what I have said relates to intangible values, but I think that those values are what makes our community unique. Visitors express great appreciation for our town, and those intangibles are worth a lot.

Russell Rodgers


Just Posted

Snowfall warning for Kootenay and Paulson passes

Up to 30 cm expected in mountain passes Saturday and Sunday.

Nelson Leafs hang on to edge Chase Heat 4-3

Nelson has won 14 of its last 15 games

Community Futures launches cannabis consultation program

The Cannabis Business Transition Initiative helps businesses move into the legal economy

Nelson receives over $400,000 in gaming grants

The annual funds are handed out to non-profit sports and arts organizations

Kootenay Patricks assemble to take on Montreal Canadiens alumni

The charity game takes place Jan. 23 in Nelson

Teen with cancer whose viral video urged Canadians to vote has died, uncle tweets

Maddison Yetman had been looking forward to voting in her first federal election since junior high school

Rowing Canada, UVic investigate celebrated coach for harassment, abuse

Lily Copeland says she felt intimidated and trapped by Williams

Cleanup in the works after tanker truck fire leads to oil spill in B.C.’s Peace region

The province said the majority of the spilled oil likely burned away in the fire.

BC VIEWS: Action needed on healthcare workplace violence

While we’ve been talking about it, the number of B.C. victims has only grown

Closing arguments begin in B.C. case launched in 2009 over private health care

Dr. Day said he illegally opened the Cambie Surgery Centre in 1996 in order to create more operating-room time

MacLean says “Coach’s Corner is no more” following Cherry’s dismissal from Hockey Night

Cherry had singled out new immigrants in for not honouring Canada’s veterans and fallen soldiers

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Dallas Smith, Terri Clark to perform on CP Holiday Train’s B.C. stops

Annual festive food bank fundraiser rolling across province from Dec. 11 to 17

Poole’s Land finale: Tofino’s legendary ‘hippie commune’ being dismantled

Series of land-use fines inspire owner Michael Poole to sell the roughly 20-acre property.

Most Read