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Unsafe pathway in Black Diamond now removed

Recreation: Plans to construct new walkway underway
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Glen Mead Pathway
The pathway extending from Glen Mead Park to 6th Avenue was removed last week. (Tammy Rollie/Western Wheel)

A steep pathway that resulted in two injuries near seniors housing in Black Diamond’s south end is now gone.
On June 24, construction crews removed the 600-metre asphalt walkway that extended from Glen Mead Park to 6th Avenue SW, located on both Town and Provincial land.
Westwinds Communities, which manages Glen Mead Park on behalf of the Provincial Ministry of Seniors Housing, reported last fall that two seniors fell on the pathway the previous winter. One suffered from a fractured hip.
The ground where the pathway was removed will be graded and either sodded or seeded this summer.
Lauren Ingalls, chief administrative officer for Westwinds, said she’s glad to see the project complete due to safety concerns the pathway posed. It was closed periodically, particularly in the winter months, since its construction in the 1970s, she said.
“The pathway was deteriorating and the asphalt was crumbing,” explained Ingalls.
The $10,400 cost to demolish the path is being shared between Westwinds Communities and the Town of Black Diamond.
Although a sign was placed at the top and bottom of the pathway last fall indicating it was closed, Ingalls said it was largely ignored.
She said she saw two school groups avoid the signs to access the pathway, as well as hospital staff and area residents on a regular basis.
During a public consultation last fall, Ingalls told Glen Mead Park, High Country Lodge and other residents that Westwinds Communities is applying for funding to construct a new pathway on another portion of the property.
It submitted an application for a Community Facility Enhancement Programs grant in mid-May to build a 2.5 metre-wide, 230-metre long asphalt pathway running east to west, south of Glen Mead Park 3, and expects to hear back in November. The estimated cost of the project is $90,600, with the expectation that the grant will cover half the cost.
Ingalls said the proposed pathway will be on level ground with post and tension cable running alongside it and will go to the end of the property line. It will be up to the Town and property developer to continue it into the Riverwood development and connect with an existing trail system, she said.
“It will be more convenient for those accessing the hospital,” she said of the proposed trail. “It will benefit the local community.”
Ingalls stated in an earlier interview that Westwinds Communities met with the Town’s public works department four years ago to discuss plans to upgrade the pathway collaboratively. After pricing the project out at about $80,000 in 2015, which would have included two switchbacks and a new railing, she said Westwinds was refused capital funding from the Province to pay a portion of the upgrade that year and the following two years.
At its June 19 council meeting, Black Diamond council approved using $5,400 from the Town’s pathways capital reserve fund to cover the cost of the demolition.
Chief administrative officer Sharlene Brown said the project was not budgeted because the Town wasn’t aware Westwinds Communities had budgeted for its portion of the costs this year.
The Town’s portion is about 30 metres, located on a road right-of-way from the benches down to 6th Avenue.
Brown said she’s happy to see the pathway removed.
“It’s a safety concern - it doesn’t meet code,” she said. “It’s a really steep grade.”
Brown said the Town has been in conversations with Westwinds Communities about partnering on the new proposed pathway.




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Tammy Rollie

About the Author: Tammy Rollie

Tammy Rollie is a staff reporter at OkotoksToday.ca and the Western Wheel newspaper, focusing on Wheel's West, local arts and culture and entertainment. For story tips contact trollie@okotoks.greatwest.ca
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