City’s new ‘get active’ plan to cost $20K

Some Port Alberni councillors object to 'yet another study' over active transportation.

A Port Alberni active transportation plan for walkers, joggers and cyclists is in the planning stage but a number of city councillors voiced concern that this may be a waste of $20,000.

Coun. Jack McLeman said he has seen similar studies done before and wondered why it’s being done again. He also had issue with hiring outsiders to tell the city what it needs.

“I always get a problem when someone we get from out of town gets here, who doesn’t know Port Alberni and tells us what we need and leaves Port Alberni with a cheque in his pocket,” McLeman said to council Monday.

“There have been five of those studies, two of them I was involved with.”

McLeman explained he remembered two similar studies that took place in the 1990s and that the regional district is currently working on one as well, adding that it should be tied in with the city’s.

City engineer Guy Cicon said the only plan he was aware of was from 1984 and was conducted by parks and recreation. Cicon defended this new study by saying this one is all-encompassing as a previous one focused only on cycling.

“This is not a duplicate study,” Cicon said.

“When we get the study back, it will be brought back to council for implementation.”

Coun. Rob Cole said he’d rather see the $20,000 spent on building bridges across Roger Creek.

“We’ve got to focus on what we can get done,” Cole said. “I would like to see more focus on that than the street ways.”

Mayor John Douglas later reminded council that they previously approved a $70,000 budget for an active cycling plan and that the $20,000 for this all-inclusive study is coming out of that budget.

According to a letter from Cicon to city manager Ken Watson, Urban Systems was hired as a consultant and this plan is part of the city’s strategic plan to “ensure a high quality of life through the promotion of active living.”