Residents of Kaleden are looking forward to a new pedestrian walkway running the length of Lakehill Road after an official announcement was made at a small ceremony in Kaleden on July 4.
The $500,000 project is a 50-50 shared cost partnership between the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
A two kilometre long, paved pathway will be constructed from Lakehill Road and Highway 97 to Lakehill Road and Ponderosa Drive along the Kaleden waterfront. Plans call for the pathway to be built along the south side of the roadway from Highway 97 to Pineview Drive, where it will cross the road and run down the north side to the waterfront.
At a small ceremony which took place on the Ross’ property on Friday, Transportation Minister Todd Stone credited Kaleden resident Kim Denis for bringing the project to the regional district’s and the province’s attention. She forwarded a petition containing just shy of 200 signatures to the regional district and the ministry three years ago to get the ball rolling.
Minister Stone cited safety issues as the underlying need for the walkway, stating the project should make a “big difference to the quality of life in Kaleden.”
Stone said the project should get underway later this summer, to be completed sometime in the fall.
RDOS Area “D” Director Tom Siddon assured the handful of Kaleden residents at the announcement that the cost “would not be charged to Kaleden taxpayers.” The regional district’s portion of funding will come from the Community Infrastructure Projects fund, a category of Gas Tax funding. Siddon acknowledged the community’s and Denis’ involvement in the project, adding he hoped to extend a “side branch” of the sidewalk up Linden Avenue to the school after the Lakehill section was completed.
Kaleden resident Dennis Gaudry, who resides on the upper portion of Lakehill Drive, and whose driveway will be impacted by walkway construction, said he was in favour of the project.
“I’m encouraged, after discussions with the regional district, as a land owner along the right of way, that there will be ongoing, on site reviews as to how it’s going to impact my driveway,” he said.
“It’a particularly needed from the community centre down to the lake.”
Kaleden Fire Chief Darlene Bailey also favoured the project, noting the department has had to respond to pedestrian accidents along the road in the past.
Kaleden resident Rita Vieau said she thought it was a good idea, too.
“Tons of people walk and run up and down Lakehill,” she said, “this should make it much safer. Our roads in Kaleden are scary,” sentiments also echoed by Birch Avenue resident Julie Frostad.
“I don’t know how it’s going to affect parking, but we think it’s wonderful,” said Betty McDonald, whose son Dave owns the general store.
“Everyone who comes in here is positive about it.”
Prior to the meeting, Siddon took the minister on a tour of the community to point out the condition of some of the streets, including Lakehill Road. When asked afterwards about future work on Lakehill Road itself, Minister Todd noted Lakehill’s deteriorating condition, saying the multi – use path was the ministry’s first priority.
“There is a case for focus on paving (Lakehill)” he said, “we’ll take a look at it, but we have no imminent plans – the multi – use path comes first.”