PORT HAWKESBURY: NSCC students want a safe walking lane between their school and the town.

On October 2, the Nova Scotia Community College Strait Area Campus hosted a walk-a-thon. The event raised $13,000 for the ROC Society.

“About 90 students came out and there was increased awareness from them about the ROC Society and the work that they do,” said NSCC Strait Campus principal Tom Gunn.

The walk-a-thon on October 2 at the NSCC Strait Area Campus was also held to raise money for the ROC Society’s expansion.

The event also highlighted the need for a safe active transportation lane between the school and Port Hawkesbury. Gunn said the college and the students’ association have been concerned about a safe walking lane for some time. One of the things that came up while preparing for the walk-a-thon was the RCMP deeming the route between the campus and the civic centre as unsafe.

“The RCMP changed the route and we went to Granville Green,” he said. “The goal was to fundraise for the ROC, but during that time, it highlighted that we’ve all been concerned about [a] safe connection to the town.”

Gunn said the college is working with the town and province to try to find safe walkways for the students.

Students say the town needs a safe walking lane and they hope the October 2 walk-a-thon helped bring attention to the issue.

Port Hawkesbury Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton said the local campus is one of the partners in the town’s Destination Reeves Street project.

“One very important part of that project is creating that safe, accessible, active transportation lane that’s going to connect NSCC and Embree’s Island to the uptown core,” said Chisholm-Beaton. “It’s certainly something that is long overdue and I do appreciate the fact that the students took it upon themselves to do that walk.”

Chisholm-Beaton said council is in the process of confirming its funding partners for the project.

“We’re looking at a three-year phased project,” said the Chisholm-Beaton. “The third year, we will be building that active transportation lane and also look at maybe reconfiguring the entryway to the Town of Port Hawkesbury by creating a gateway park as you come into the town.”

The mayor added that if the town is able to confirm all of its funding partners “sooner rather than later,” residents could be looking at the trail taking shape sometime in 2019 or 2020.