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Carbonear councillors not happy with all aspects of downtown revitalization project

The first phase of Carbonear's downtown revitalization project is not receiving unanimous praise from council members.
The first phase of Carbonear's downtown revitalization project is not receiving unanimous praise from council members. - Andrew Robinson
CARBONEAR, N.L. —

A Carbonear town councillor says members of the municipal government, himself included, should have done more to ensure work completed this summer for the first phase of the downtown revitalization project met the community's needs.

"In some case, I really do believe that we dropped the ball," Coun. David Kennedy told fellow council members at the Sept. 10 regular meeting.

Kennedy, who cautioned he is by no means an engineer nor an expert on road infrastructure, was mostly upset about accessibility issues for wheelchairs as they relate to the placement of curb cuts. Curb cuts slope downwards from the curb to either accommodate pedestrians or, in the case of parking lots and driveways, vehicles.

While specifically citing work completed on the downtown area's water and sewer system as much needed, he said council should have made sure the full scope of the project's first phase met the needs of residents and business owners.

"I do believe that the project will be very beneficial when it's finished and I do think it will grow on people and that it will certainly improve the overall downtown, but I do believe there's one or two places in particular where we should have (curb cuts) put in place, because the businesses need it in terms of the clientele that they have there. In some places, it's put in and put in properly, and in some other places we really need to step it up to get it done."

He suggested some curbs should be replaced before further work on the project begins. Kennedy in particular suggested council should consult businesses further on the topic and not rely solely on professionals.

There was general agreement among the remaining councillors in the room. Mayor Frank Butt declared conflict, and Deputy Mayor Chris O'Grady and Coun. Victor Jenkins were not present at the meeting.

Coun. Ray Noel said the town has an obligation to residents to make sure the work is done right.

"We need to do it now and not try to fix it later," he said, suggesting council defer it plans for further work until it can get more information on how best to proceed.

"I think it will be a wonderful (project), but let's make sure that if it needs to be tweaked, let's do it now," Noel later added.

Noel said a meeting with the consulting engineers could be in order, with Coun. Danielle Doyle adding the town should also look at involving Service NL. The government department has some jurisdiction when it comes to issues of accessibility.

A multi-phase project that has already received first-phase support from the federal and provincial governments, the downtown revitalization plan involves upgrades to water and sewer, landscaping, sidewalks and signage, among other proposed features.

editor@cbncompass.ca

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