By Cal Braid
Westwind Weekly News
Raymond Council has reached a decision for a solution to the Stonegate ditch rehabilitation issue, which has been lingering on the agenda for quite some time. “We’ve spoken on this matter over a number of years. Council has come to what they feel is a direction that they’re comfortable proceeding with on the ditches. Attached is the French drain design that any eligible property owner along Cobblestone Lane, if they choose, can install in front of their home to the engineered specs. There will be a free permitting process in place for those (who) want to do it. This is the solution that they will be allowed to do, and this will be at their expense. If they choose not to go this route then their only alternative is to leave their ditch as it is,” said Kurtis Pratt, CAO for the Town.
Council also had a discussion sparked by a complaint on the Block 60 alley condition between 200E and 300E. After receiving a letter from residents on both sides of the laneway, the complaint was addressed. Residents say that since the installation of a storm water pipe, conditions have deteriorated, and they are asking for re-development of the back lane.
“The town has a longstanding policy then we do not maintain alleyways or laneways unless they are commercially based,” Pratt said. “However, that is at the purview of council and that can always be changed. Councils to this point have maintained and upheld that direction,” he said. “It’s really up to you.”
Coun. Kindt was outspoken on the matter, saying, “I have a problem with that. How can we not be responsible for the alleys? They’re (part of) our town.”
Pratt replied, “They are not meant for active modes of transportation.”
“If the homeowners are responsible for that, then that should be their property and they should be able to fence it,” Kindt rebutted.
“It’s a valid point,” said Pratt. “The rationale from past councils has been that we are maintaining our existing roadways. The laneways are at a cost beyond what we have the means to do.”
Kindt said, “I just think that if I have a property and it backs up onto an alley, I’m going to use the alley to access my property. So that is a town-owned alley because it is not mine, so the town should be maintaining that. My alley behind my house is an absolute nightmare. If somebody had to come down there in an emergency vehicle, they would not make it, because of the ruts. So why can we not take three alleys per year and maintain them?”
Coun. Coppieters interjected, “We’ve dealt with this for three years and heard various scenarios and issues. I would be in favour of the proposition of, from the end of March until the end of August, public works could (…) run a grader and some take some crushed aggregate to build up some of the low spots.”
“It’s part of our town. I can’t believe (it). I’m kind of surprised actually,” Kindt said.
Coun. Evans said, “Speaking from the budget and finance committee, if we are allocating funds to roadways and sidewalks, I think we have significant needs on roadways and sidewalks that are used every day, rather than alleyways that are used periodically and not used during bad weather.”
The discussion concluded with the consensus that while there was not unanimous agreement, the issue was still open to further consideration and that it is within Council’s powers to tweak or change the ‘no alleys’ policy as they see fit.