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Long-awaited Petersen Road improvements at risk

Campbell River municipal staff urge the city to allocate $455,000 to the project in 2014

More than one year after Coun. Ron Kerr raised the alarm over pedestrian safety along Petersen Road, improvements are expected.

But there’s a potential snag.

At its Jan. 29 financial planning meeting, council approved $50,000 for a walking and cycling path through the Willis and Petersen road corridor. Council will take the money from the Community Works Fund, despite a warning from city staff that using it for such a project may make the city vulnerable in the event of an audit.

“We recognize that the funding criteria under the Community Works Fund is set to (potentially) change next year but at looking at the (current) criteria, staff’s view is that project may be vulnerable to an audit,” said Ron Neufeld, general manager of operations.

Kerr, who made the motion for the improvements, wanted to go ahead with the project anyway.

“It’s risky but I’m trying to attempt to address some of the worst areas and have some improvements to the safety and security issues we have, especially on the Petersen hill,” Kerr said. “This would be a huge improvement to the area.”

Kerr has been urging council since 2012 to make the Petersen and Willis area a priority.

He said in September 2012 that the area poses a major hazard for pedestrians because there are no sidewalks and the shoulders are so narrow that people are forced to walk dangerously close to the vehicles.

At the time, Kerr wanted council to go ahead with improvements but city staff said the sidewalks should wait until the city had enough money to re-build Willis and Petersen, a project that could cost upwards of $1 million. However, city staff came back with a revised figure for this year’s budget.

Staff suggested council allocate $455,000 in 2014 which would involve widening the existing shoulder along Willis Road and performing additional drainage and ditch works as needed.

Kerr went with a less expensive figure of $50,000 for pathway improvements this year.

Other budget items

  • Council will spend either $115,000 to fix the rip rap armouring at Robert Ostler Park or $630,000 to create a soft shore. The soft shore work would be funded by the Community Works Fund. Which project goes ahead will be determined by council once it has reviewed a feasibility study of the two options which is expected to go before council in late spring.

  • Council moved a $95,000 master study for Nunns Creek Park up to 2015. City staff had recommended the plan, which will be funded through the parks parcel tax, be done in 2017.

  • Council approved $300,000 in 2014 for sidewalks on 15th Avenue between Maple and Spruce Street and on Spruce Street from 14th Avenue to Highway 19A.

  • $64,000 for more transit shelters. Locations will be along on the primary routes.