Mayoral candidate Scott Nelson has fired one of the first salvos of the municipal election campaign.
Late last week Nelson told the media he was concerned about the state of South Lakeside Drive from the Highway 20 intersection to Kwaleen Elementary School.
Nelson said the issue came to his attention recently when he was campaigning in the area. He contends that the City has sealed the road’s cracks and created “speed bumps” that wreak havoc with motorists’ vehicles.
Nelson added the design study recently approved by council to extend the existing taper lane from its current location near Hodgson Road to Pioneer Drive and add a mixed use pedestrian/bike path along the north side of the drive from Hodgson Road to Pioneer Drive for construction in 2012 is not adequate.
“What I’m talking about is beyond that. It’s an atrocious mess and people are upset,” he says. “My job as someone who’s running for mayor is to make sure these issues can be resolved and a positive answer can be brought forward.”
Mayor Kerry Cook says the fact that the City has budgeted $20,000 to undertake the study to be followed with improvements on the road that includes paving next year means the roadway is a priority.
“South Lakeside is a priority for this council,” she says, noting the design work is a necessary step to determine more detailed costs for road improvements. In 2012 Cook says the City has budgeted $1 million for South Lakeside.
“We’re going through the process of addressing the challenges with South Lakeside,” she says, adding the City would like to extend the paving to Kwaleen school but it depends on the report that comes back from the engineering consultant and ultimately cost.
Nelson agrees that the same sealing technique has been used elsewhere on city streets but says the difference was the speed at which motorists travel on South Lakeside.
“I’m prioritizing that area because you’ve got significantly more traffic with Walmart and those people living on South Lakeside. That’s why it’s a major corridor.”
Nelson adds as mayor he would fund the project next year out of the City’s capital budget.
Cook added it’s easy to make promises but it’s up to council to “be responsible and balance all the community’s needs.”
“We need to move towards a strategic responsible plan for infrastructure projects,” Cook says. “That is exactly what this council is doing.”
She cites the City’s pavement management plan as being an example.
“We need to always keep the taxpayer in mind. Balancing needs with what we can afford.”
The City, Cook says, must also be mindful of repaying debt incurred by other councils.