Walking, cycling in Thornhill promoted

This week, our columnist Claudette Sandecki gives us the lowdown on how Thornhill residents can provide input on their neighbourhood plan

don’t drive backwards on our streets, and I vote at every opportunity. Otherwise I’m a typical Thornhill resident.

Which is why – following a quick read of the green flyer the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine mailed out seeking input on an Active Transportation Plan to improve walking and cycling in Thornhill – I concluded, “That doesn’t concern me. Even if it did, someone else will say what I might, so why bother going to the workshop Saturday, October 5th?”

Besides an on-line poll, the notice said a walking and bike tour of Thornhill beginning at 9 a.m. would be part of the Saturday workshop.

I tucked the flyer behind my pencil holder and promised to watch the news for workshop results.

Today I learned preliminary results.

Only a smattering of Thornhill residents showed up for the workshop, although those who did offered excellent comments.

However, not a single resident took part in the walking tour which, in Copper Mountain subdivision, was to wend its way from the school south on Kirkaldy, east on Clore, north on Hagen, west on Edlund, south on Walker, angle east on Skinner to Clore, north on Dobbie (my street) and end at Kirkaldy.

The aim of on-line poll and workshop/walkabout input is to guide the regional district in developing policies for the future planning and use of all of Thornhill to encourage residents to walk, bike, or bus, to do so more safely, and to better connect Thornhill residents as well as its business area to Terrace.

Policies are to cover not only bussing, walking, and biking access and safety issues, but to plan and preserve green space and walking trails … two things of utmost importance to me.

Without the natural trails and bush between Haaland Avenue and Rifle Range Road, where I walk daily with my dogs, I’d have nowhere to let my dogs safely ramble off leash for more exercise than they would get walking sedately beside me on paved streets. Walking on a paved street lacks the adventure of tripping over roots, rocks, and blown down branches, just one more way I seek to stave off Alzheimers.

Consultants have been hired to study residents’ comments and internet poll results to develop a draft policy perhaps by mid-November for further comments and critiques.

Owing to the meagre response of slowpokes like me, the original poll deadline of October 11 has been pushed back, giving us time to register our opinions. The regional district hopes for many more points of view, especially from school Parent Advisory Councils.

This is parents’ and principals’ chance to speak up for paved sidewalks, bike lanes, street lighting, maybe a few crosswalks in places known to be risky for kids on their way to or from school.

My dogs tend to explore metres beyond either side of a trail. Thus my preference would be for no further encroachment by residential or business development on the remaining small patch of native green enclosed by Haaland Avenue, Crescent Street, Rifle Range Road, and JL’s Excavating. I also suggested adding a partial load of crush gravel to the Haaland ditch at the south end of Dobbie. Currently the ditch is steep, covered in pea gravel which rolls underfoot and threatens to dump me. It’s even more risky under ice or snow.

News that GPS positioning is to be one result of this transportation plan is good to hear; it could prove a lifesaver for elders walking rugged trails.

I regret not having learned more about the purpose of the poll and the true nature of the October 5th workshop in time to attend. But you can still complete the poll and comment at rdks.gc.ca.

For more information contact Ken Newman at 250-615-6100.