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Councillors push seven new cycling routes for completion this year

Public information sessions won't happen because of COVID-19
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Cranking hard through coronavirus complications, Sault Ste. Marie councillors are determined to get a major expansion of local cycling options completed in 2020.

Back in February, City Council gave the go-ahead to five new priority cycling routes: Lake Street, MacDonald Avenue, North Street, Korah Road and Goulais Avenue.

They also approved two multi-use paths: Northern Community Centre and James Street/ Machine Shop.

But those February approvals were conditional on notice being given to owners of property fronting on the proposed routes, with public information sessions hosted by the city.

The COVID-19 emergency has tossed a stick into the spokes of public information sessions of any kind, at least for the time being.

So at last week's City Council meeting, Ward 3 Coun. Donna Hilsinger and Ward 4's Marchy Bruni convinced their colleagues to proceed giving public notice about the planned work, without holding public information sessions.

Don McConnell, the city's director, planning and enterprise services, said past information sessions on cycling routes were very well attended.

"There was great interest, McConnell said.

But neighbours who receive notices will be able to look at information on the city's website and to phone city staff to discuss any concerns, "which would be the same thing that we would be doing if we were in a meeting."

Mayor Christian Provenzano pointed out that objections were raised at previous information sessions about cycling routes but City Council nonetheless decided to press on with the initiatives as part of an overall cycling master plan.

"We heard everybody out at council but we moved forward," the mayor said.

"The decision on whether we move forward or not is completely within our jurisdiction."

"It didn't happen last time and I wouldn't expect it would happen this time because these are all decisions that were made in the context of plans that we've already asked staff to work on," Provenzano said.


David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans seven decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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