The lack of a pedestrian walkway makes Harbour Road an unsafe place for both tourists and residents, said Mike McDowall, summertime coordinator at the Maritime Discovery Centre.
“Quite often you’ll see large trucks going up and down here, probably 10 an hour,” he said. However there is no barrier to stop them from edging onto the walkway that exists there now, something that’s a safety hazard given the 5000-7000 tourists that come through there most summers, he said.
“You can almost see a semi-walkway… there’s a painted line [between the walkway and road] but safety wise painted lines don’t do much,” McDowall said. “If they had something like [a curb] it could prevent a car coming over or something, though ideally I think you’d still like a higher [barrier,] like a highway median … between large industrial traffic and people that walk there.”
The issue is complicated by the co-ownership of the road. It’s shared by the city, the port authority, Western Forest Products and Catalyst Paper.
According to David McCormick, Director of Public Relations and Business Development at the port authority, “the port is certainly aware of the safety concerns that do exist with the heavy use of Harbour Road by industrial traffic. The port does work with the other partners to ensure that the road is used safely by everybody, whether it’s industrial traffic, residential or community citizen vehicles or pedestrians.”
To that effect, the port authority has collaborated with the city to have temporary signage installed that restricts parking along Harbour Road, especially for vehicles that have boat trailers.
However, Coun. Jack McLeman admitted that there currently aren’t any plans to make that stretch of Harbour Road any safer.
He does want to see if it’s possible to add signs that would direct pedestrians from where the new steps down to the beach were installed along Harbour Road near the old Esso property to the Maritime Museum along the Harbour Quay Marina.
“What we’re going to have to do is figure out what’s possible and bring it up at the next budget,” McLeman said.
According to Scott Kenny, Director of Parks and Recreation and Heritage, the fence around the Esso property can’t yet be removed. McLeman would like to see pylons put up along the walkway.
McDowall appreciates the attempts made thus far but wants the partners to work together to figure out a better solution in time for next summer.
“There’s a big push for opening up the waterfront, especially from city council… and a safer walkway [would make it] more of a natural attraction. Now, it’s just not the safest it could be.”