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October 28, 2017 1:49 am

TalkTober Wraps

Thursday, October 29, 2015 @ 4:00 AM

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City’s Dave Dyer and City staff members talk with  some  west bowl area residents at the final Community Conversation-photo 250News

Prince George, B.C.-  Last night was the  6th and final community conversation for this year and Mayor Lyn Hall is very pleased  with  how  neighbourhoods  have embraced the  opportunity to  meet with  Council members and staff.

“We’ve had 6 neighbourhood  meetings  and they’ve all gone extremely well with respect to attendance  some could have been a bit more, but they were well  received by those who did come out and that’s all we wanted,  we wanted to provide the opportunity  and that’s what we’ve done” says Hall.

If there is one  message that was common among all 6  sessions,  Mayor Hall says  it’s infrastructure “The common theme  we’ve been hearing is roads,  walk ways, lighting and   we’re hearing that  not only in the Hart and Blackburn, but through the entire  process.”

But infrastructure costs money, and budget talks are just around the corner for Council  and  Mayor Hall says  residents have said they  are happy with  what’s being done with  road rehab,  snow removal  and pothole repairs “People have said  they like what they’re seeing, particularly with sidewalks we put about   600 thousand dollars into them this year,  they want to see that continue if not enhanced, so I think we’re doing a really  good job there, we just need to continue.  By the sounds of things, lighting is  a big  issue too.”

The Community Conversations were  part of Hall’s election campaign,  and  Council  embraced the idea “The other part was early on,  when  I and other councillors met with some key organizations in the City, but this was the main piece for me, and it’s not  just something we start now and end,  this will continue on through our entire term. So I’m really happy with the way things have turned out.”

Hall says he thinks the neighbourhood meetings have  helped to break down  perceived barriers between  residents and City Hall ” I think they are starting to  be broken down, you know you talk about similarities in these meetings, and people have come and thanked us  and said  ‘we appreciate you coming out, we appreciate you told us  you would,  and now here  you are’ and I think we are starting to break down that  perceived barrier  around accessibility to Council , accessibility to staff, here we are, not completely, we still have some work to do.”

The Community Conversations have also provided an opportunity for residents to  tell City staff what they would like to see in their neighbourhoods to make them better, but there are dollars attached to those “I wants”.  Mayor Hall says it’s encouraging to see the support for some projects, such as the skatepark proposed for   the Cpl Darren Fitzpatrick  Bravery Park  in the Hart.  In that case,  there is a partnership  between the City, the rotary Club and the Hart Community  Association to  make that project a reality.

Mayor Hall says  residents understand that the ‘I wants’ come with a price tag, but  they are  saying it’s now up to Council to look at the budget and determine where  there is an absolute need to get some of the  projects started this year.




While I am certainly happy to hear that Mayor and Council are listening to the public, I hope that they do not envision lighting and infrastructure as “I wants”. Our City has seen far too many deaths and serious injuries of pedestrians due to insufficiently lit streets. One does not have to look far in order to see dark streets, poorly lit crosswalks and areas that have absolutely no lighting at all. Pedestrian safety seems to take a back seat. This problem is obvious at crosswalks on the highways as well. Upgrading old inefficient street lighting to newer/brighter LED is not happening very quickly. Maybe the city could approach the province for grant money to help out with this. Power savings alone would justify the cost in no time.
The older areas of the city are also suffering from outdated/outgrown underground utilities (water/sewer). Yes, this costs money to remedy, but digging up freshly paved roads to bandaid ruptured and collapsed pipes costs money too. I would like to see these needs be addressed before the City decides to rebuild/renovate City Hall or Fire Departments.
On a positive note, Council seems to be more public friendly these days. Our roads have gotten much better and the dilapidated vacant buildings are disappearing. Now we need new life to be breathed into the vacant lots to boost tax revenue.

I agree, watchdog. Roadway, sidewalk, and other types of lighting are public safety issues. Most public safety issues come with standards and guidelines which are provided by provincial and/or municipal authorities.

Potholes in roads are easy to detect. Lighting is a completely different story.

I searched the City web site and could not find anything about a roadway illumination standard. I may have missed it, in which case someone posting on here who knows of such a municipal standard for PG can post a link to it.

Once a level of illumination standard for various types of road classifications is in place, it is a matter of taking inventory of what we have – where we meet or exceed the standard and where we fall short. That should be reported out to the community and a plan for compliance made, if the standard is not being met in certain locations.

Safety issues are not wants. They are needs. If an area decides to incorporate as a municipality, and PG decided that 100 years ago, there are responsibilities which come with that. It is important that those in charge, both administration and council, understand the difference.

I sometimes wonder why people click on thumbs up or thumbs down. Is it the person who is posting that gets the negative or positive evaluation or the thoughts presented in the post or both?

I sure as hell hope that as in this case it isn’t the thought of having some sort of standards or goals, whether they are set by safety authorities or by the people in the community.

Maybe they just do not like big brother watching out over us. They sort of promote an everyone for themselves kind of attitude rather than a communal approach to things.

I then start to think why are such people choosing to live in a city where there are a multitude of decisions that have to be made which are typically compromises. If they lived outside of dense municipalities, on rural property, they would have fewer of such concerns.

It is nice to see the city go out any ask the city what they want, I am surprised that the residents of Highland Drive didn’t come out and talk about the cost of hooking up the city sewage.

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