Willow Point residents living in the College Drive subdivision are getting tired of doing maintenance work that they say is the city’s responsibility.
Over the last 10 years, four property owners say they have been looking after the public walkway that connects Timberline Drive and Holm Road because it’s been neglected by the city.
Marvin and Marilynn Mason, in a letter to city council published on the Oct. 24 council meeting agenda, wrote that the walkway “has been mowed by these four owners at their own time and expense” and that at least two of those owners contacted the city to find out why the city has not taken responsibility for the pathway.
The Masons said the reason given by city staff was that money had not been allocated in the budget for regular maintenance of the walkway which the Masons say is used by 50 to 100 people daily, including students and teachers.
At last week’s Monday council meeting, Coun. Larry Samson questioned whether the city budgets for maintenance each time it approves a walkway.
“If we do approve these walkways, do we not budget a certain amount to ensure there is a certain standard kept to these walkways?” Samson asked.
Mayor Andy Adams said council and staff have in recent years been diligent in adjusting city maintenance levels to fit within the budget. But, he added, “there are historically a number that haven’t gotten those operating dollars associated before that practice began which has put challenges on staff.
“This is a concern,” Adams added. “Would staff do a report back or what would be the process?”
Ron Neufeld, deputy city manager and general manager of operations, suggested that council could consider the item during financial planning meetings in early December or ask for a staff report detailing the city’s policy for walkway maintenance.
Coun. Charlie Cornfield said the walkway is a valuable corridor to Timberline Secondary, North Island College and Timberline Village shopping centre and took Neufeld up on both offers, requesting a staff report, as well as discussion of the walkway during financial planning.
That motion was approved by council but Coun. Ron Kerr was concerned with council’s treatment of the issue.
“I would hate every time we get a letter (about) a special trail or location that we react to it,” he said. “I think we need to look at it from a higher level lens. In a perfect world this would all be done and our taxes would stay low, but that’s not going to happen. You know, my neighbourhood we go out and do it ourselves. I think neighbourhood ownership, or Adopt A Park – those types of things – can fill in when staff can’t do it or we don’t have the funds.”
In the end, Cornfield was firm that the issue was an “important” one and requested that the staff report deal solely with a solution for the Timberline/Holm walkway.