York Place sidewalk slides into decay

Residents say they paid $80,800 in taxes this year, and merit some attention to their infrastructure.

Remedial work could start this week on safety-compromised sidewalks of York Place.

District of Oak Bay staff will be in the area to do some mitigation work including patching, grinding edges to alleviate tripping hazards.

“It’s standard sidewalk maintenance, part of routine maintenance,” said Dave Marshall, director of engineering in Oak Bay.

The work comes on the heals of a new study residents in the York Place neighbourhood commissioned in hopes of getting some new pavement.

Brian Malone says the new report, commissioned by the neighbourhood, outlines areas of health and safety concerns with the chunked up sidewalk on their street.

“A new sidewalk every 100 years is not too much to ask, I don’t think,” said Malone, who believes the walkway to be that old.

It’s not the first time they’ve approached council for upgrades to their road and sidewalk, he admits.

“They did come about three years ago … We went down and we reviewed it and we consulted with our staff, and staff thought we could patch it up,” said Coun. Tara Ney. “It looks like those patches have fallen away so that there are crevices in the sidewalk now.”

The September report by Dr. Elaine Gallagher, of Gerotech Research Associates, says there are 23 homes on the street and the damaged walkway affects about 45 to 60 people, including those who park on that street and walk to nearby Oak Bay Avenue for work or shopping.

The report came to a number of conclusions, including that the sidewalk should be replaced and that foliage blockage bylaws need to be better enforced in the area. It found that massive repair work or replacement of much of the sidewalk is needed to accommodate pedestrian needs and safety.

Residents say they paid $80,800 in taxes this year, and merit some attention to their infrastructure. That letter was sent to council, but had not appeared in an agenda, prior to the scheduled maintenance work.

“That letter will come before council and council will decide if more needs to be done,” Ney said. “It makes me uneasy to hear that someone’s feeling nervous about getting out of their house. When it comes before council we’ll look at that. I would like to see that it gets looked at again.”

When they brought the issue forward three years ago, Malone said, they didn’t get far. Too few residents were affected to get a project moved up the priority list. “Now it’s got a different complexion, a safety issue,” he said.

“This is one of many, many places in our municipally that requires attention,” Ney said. “Somehow we have to find a way to prioritize.”