Whycocomagh to We’koqma’q sidewalk project start date moved

PORT HOOD: A project to have a sidewalk extending from Whycocomagh to We’koqma’q First Nation is in the works, but Melanie Beaton, the special projects facilitator for Inverness County, said it won’t be happening as quickly as was hoped.

“Municipal staff is working with a consultant to design the sidewalk,” she told council during the March 5 meeting. “The design will be completed in coordination with Darren Blundon of NSTIR [Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal].”

Blundon is the area manager for the department.

“Following discussions with We’koqma’q First Nation, the cost, design and financing options will be brought to council for review,” she said. “Depending on that review, a public meeting will be scheduled.

“If support is demonstrated, council would make a motion to commit the design and cost to NSTIR for tender to take advantage of cost savings and enter into an agreement with NSTIR for cost recovery.”

Beaton said the idea is to have construction take place at the same time as the construction of the Whycocomagh roundabout, which would mean some cost savings, as a construction company will already be there.

“The start date has been moved to September,” she said, noting that some existing utilities like power polls have to be moved.

Beaton noted the project should be finished in October, should everything go properly. The tender deadline is May 8.

“I don’t understand why they can’t tender now,” said Laurie Cranton, District 2 councillor. “While they [NSTIR] remove what they have to remove, they can still tender.”

John MacLennan, councillor for Whycocomagh and area, would have liked to see the tender started earlier.

“I was talking to transportation before Christmas, and they were going to start it in May and finish in July, but we have to wait for them,” he said.

“We can have that discussion when we meet with department representatives which is coming up soon,” said Inverness Warden Betty Ann MacQuarrie. “We’ll talk about those issues and many more.”