Residents concerned with changes planned for a dead-end stretch of 16A Avenue have asked the city to put a hold on storm sewer upgrades that are set to get underway as early as this week, to allow residents time for input.
Helen Armstrong and Linda Long say residents have been given conflicting information regarding what will happen to mature trees in the subject area, and that they haven’t received written notice as to the scope of the work.
They’re also concerned with city plans to push 16A Avenue through to 156 Street – a move they say will create safety issues for pedestrians, many of whom are elderly, and increase pressure on an already frustrating parking situation.
“We’re concerned… once the work starts, it’s next to impossible to reverse the work,” Armstrong said Wednesday. “Our best opportunity to work together is before shovels and bulldozers.”
City officials say the storm-sewer work is related to the hospice facility that is to be built at 15433 16A Ave. It will involve removing “a number of trees along the north side of the road,” acting general manager Don Luymes confirmed.
“They’ll try to save as many trees as possible,” Luymes said, noting work was authorized when the hospice project was approved last month and will get underway “shortly.”
As for pushing 16A Avenue through, Luymes said that work has been in the city’s plan “for years,” and will likely proceed once a 200-bed residential-care facility proposed by Peace Arch Hospital and Community Health Foundation for the corner of 156 Street and 17 Avenue gets the go-ahead.
“The opening of 16A Avenue has been in the city plan for a long time and I would say is necessary.”
Armstrong and Long emphasized that none of the area residents are opposed to the either facility, they just don’t see how pushing 16A Avenue through will be of any benefit. Traffic volume and speed will increase, more trees would have to be removed and the “quiet, stately” street would be no more.
“We’re not trying to bully the city into doing something,” Long said. “Our main purpose is for the good the community. We’re trying to work with them.”
Luymes said staff are willing to hear residents’ concerns, and a meeting is set for Aug. 31.
“Staff’s position is it’s likely that that link is necessary, but there may be different ways of doing it… that alleviate some of the concerns.”