In the end, it was an amendment to an amendment on a resolution for the second option that won over the most votes.

Since councillors -- motorists, cyclists and pedestrians -- have waited so very long for improvements to Railway Street, mayor and council took a bit longer to come up with a resolution on design. 

After the debate, councillors had worked with city staff to cobble together a plan that might help both cyclists and pedestrians, while mitigating the cost to ratepayers in what's expected to be a tough budget year.

They were urged to take the extra time by deputations from Judy Underwood -- on behalf of the city's trails committee -- as well as Steve Strachan, who has been involved in cycling from a business and personal point of view for many years.

"This may be a link to larger initiatives, as we move forward with our redevelopment," said Underwood, who noted past opportunities have been missed, and the return on investment could be measured for many years to come.

In fact, the city has been working to build up a network of walking and cycling trails, in order to make the community more attractive for residents, as well as visitors.

Strachan also cited from the city's official plan, as well as the city's support for green or more environmentally-friendly approaches to transportation in the city. 

After listening to the deputations -- the first ever for a virtual council in the city, Coun. Andrew Poirier suggested councillors review plans for the stretch of road between Park Street and Railway Street. This would be part of 10th Avenue South, where it could cost about $175,000 to accommodate sufficient room for pedestrians and cyclists through shoulders and sidewalks. 

Mayor Dan Reynard also balked at paying $120,000 for the moving of a driveway and a garage,  as part of a total bill that could exceed more than $400,000 for accommodating pedestrians and cyclists. However, he appreciated the importance of allowing motorists to share the road with those who are walking or riding their bikes to stores and businesses downtown or nearby schools.

Since the offer for government grants are a limited time offer, and the design work will have to be shared with funding partners and contractors, staff said city councillors didn't actually have time a lot of time for consultations and design work on the dedicated bike lanes and sidewalks. Councillors also noted the additional costs associated with the addition of shoulders and sidewalks would be paid for by ratepayers, without any subsidies from federal or provincial programs.

Over the last couple of weeks, councillors said they had received a number of emails, a petition with more than 1,500 names attached and a couple of deputations to yesterday's council. 

The mayor also wanted to make sure the design work didn't require additional concessions from CP Rail, which has been difficult in the past, when dealing with land issues.

The work schedule for Park Street, 10th Avenue South and Railway Street is as follows:

  • 2020 Intersection 10th Ave. S. and Park Street 1051 Railway Street (Napa)
  • 2021 1051 Railway Street (Napa) Intersection of Sedesky Road and Railway Street
  • 2022 Intersection of Sedesky Road and Railway Street 1731 Railway Street (former JM/Kenora boundary)

For more information:

Sidewalks, shoulders options for improved Railway Street

City of Kenora - Agenda for May 19 council meeting (report starts at page 5)