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'Well-loved and well-used' Port Moody walkway, staircase to be replaced

The walkway provides a more direct route for students to get to Port Moody Secondary School.
A wooden staircase at the bottom of a walkway that connects Mount Royal Drive with Clark Road is slippery and poor condition says a staff report.

Is $350,000 to replace a slippery path and crumbling staircase in Port Moody's west end money well spent?

Several councillors think so as they approved the expenditure at a meeting of council's finance committee last Tuesday, Nov. 21.

The walkway connects Clarke Road and Mount Royal Drive, providing residents a more direct route and less arduous ascents and descents in the hilly Seaforth neighbourhood, said project manager Sandy Tolentino in a report.

It's also well-used, said Coun. Kyla Knowles, who went on a bit of a fact-finding mission with fellow Coun. Callan Morrison prior to the meeting.

Knowles said she was initially concerned whether the reconstruction project would be necessary but her own observation of students using the walkway to get to and from nearby Port Moody Secondary and neighbourhood residents out walking their dogs convinced her otherwise.

"I feel confident this is a well-used and well-loved path," she said.

Morrison concurred.

"Students don't like walking down Clarke," he said. "The path takes them away from traffic and gives them a safer space."


In a presentation, Kim Law, Port Moody's manager of project services, said not only is the wooden staircase at the bottom of the path slippery and in poor condition, it also encroaches into an adjacent private property, exposing the city to potential liability problems. He said even decommissioning the route would cost $40,000.

Replacing it with a concrete staircase and paved asphalt path would allow the city to move the entirety of the walkway to public property while improving safety and connectivity.

Knowles said based on her observations, even if the route was permanently closed people would still find a way to use it.

Coun. Amy Lubik said such neighbourhood shortcuts are important to people.

"Anything we can do to make it safer is a worthwhile endeavour."

Law said staff intend to conduct an assessment next year of similar walkways that exist in various neighbourhoods around the city.

Mayor Meghan Lahti suggested improving and reconstructing some of those paths could become part of the city's expectations from developers seeking to build new projects.

"I would like all of these pathways to be on our radar as we consider new developments," she said. "We need to see if we can get funding from other sources."