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Council contends with crack in sidewalk plan

Senior Citizens Association, Heritage Thorold, clash over Memorial Park sidewalk replacement
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Memorial Park. Bob Liddycoat / Thorold News

While considering the city’s revised sidewalk replacement program Tuesday night, councillors discovered a slight crack in the proposed plan.

Public Works and Community Services director Geoff Holman presented the proposal, recommending that councillors pass “the full amount of the approved budget,” or $200,000 to replace city sidewalks, as needed.

Councillors did so, but then were faced with addressing conflicting concerns expressed by two local groups.

While members of the Thorold Senior Citizens Association sent the city a petition, requesting that a sidewalk be constructed leading to the cenotaph in Memorial Park--located behind the Seniors Centre--Coun. Fred Neale pointed out that “LACAC doesn’t want it to happen.”

Members of the Thorold Heritage committee—or LACAC—maintain that “This is a designated heritage park,” explained Neale, “so we can’t change it lightly, under the Ontario Heritage Act.”

Mayor Terry Ugulini reported that he was aware of the groups’ conflicting viewpoints.

“I have talked to both parties,” he stated. “I would like to hold a meeting with the head of LACAC and the Seniors Centre, and come back with a proposal” for council’s consideration, he added.

However, having a proposal prepared and presented at the next council meeting—of Nov. 5—creates a time crunch, said Holman.

Each year, Remembrance Day services are held at the Memorial Park cenotaph.

“We are running out of time. If you wanted to have something in place by Remembrance Day, we couldn’t get a report back to council in time.”

For visitors entering the park via Albert Street, “You come up two steps, so it’s not accessible” for people who require wheelchairs, said Neale.

Coun. Jim Handley asked, “Did we not discuss putting swales around the steps to make it accessible?” during previous council deliberations.

“We may be able to provide a ramp and work with LACAC to provide alignment, that would satisfy both parties,” suggested Holman.

The Mayor said he and staff would meet with the two groups and attempt to resolve the issue before Remembrance Day.