WHYCOCOMAGH: After a petition was presented to council in February highlighting the desire for the construction of a sidewalk connecting the communities of Whycocomagh and We’koqma’q First Nation, the project has since been green lit.

With the proposed rotary being constructed in Whycocomagh, citizens encouraged the Municipality of the County of Inverness to work with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal to pursue the creation of a sidewalk.

During the municipality’s regular council meeting May 7, Melaine Beaton, Inverness County’s special projects facilitator, advised municipal staff have engaged Strum Engineering to provide design and costs for the new rotary.

The Whycocomagh Planning and Streetscape Committee has also engaged Strum to survey, design and cost the construction of sidewalks throughout the village of Whycocomagh, including connecting We’koqma’q First Nation and Whycocomagh in the tune of $39,950, plus HST.

“Highway 105 traffic volume from Port Hastings to Whycocomagh ranges from 3,300 to 4,500 vehicles per day,” Beaton said. “Of the service centres within the municipality with major highways traversing through them, Whycocomagh is the only one, to date, that has not benefitted from any sidewalk or streetscaping projects.”

The Municipal Active Transportation Plan, which was completed in 2018, engaged residents of District 4 through an open house and an on-line engagement survey. Recommendations are to provide a safe east-west walking connection through Whycocomagh.

In detail, Inverness’ Active Transportation Plan made the following recommendations; a curbed sidewalk and pedestrian lighting along Highway 105 from Reservation Road to Farmer’s Daughter; a paved shoulder and pedestrian lighting along Main Street; and curbed sidewalk and pedestrian lighting along Highway 105 from Main Street to the Whycocomagh Provincial Park.

Vehicles travel through the community at high speeds and Beaton said there are few visual indicators that drivers are entering the core of a community.

“Providing a curbed sidewalk and pedestrian scaled lighting along Highway 105 would not only enable safe walking, but also ties together the heart of Whycocomagh and makes it less of a ‘drive through’ community.”