By Kevin Sabo For the Independent
The Town of Stettler won’t proceed with a train track theme for sidewalks, deciding it was too costly.
In 2011 the town started using themed rail track on some sidewalks. Because of complaints the council has received, the premature wear that some sections are showing and the cost of $300 a square meter for new pours, the town has derailed their plan to continue with the rail track theme on sidewalks and go back to a standard brushed concrete sidewalk costing $160 per square meter.
“If you look at downtown Red Deer, which has a really beautiful street scape, all of their sidewalks are brushed concrete, except in areas where they have crosswalks,” said Mayor Sean Nolls during the town’s regular council meeting July 3. He said that downtown beautification could be done at a much lower cost by adding benches and decorative light poles like Red Deer.
Complaints the town received about the train track sidewalks are varied.
Director of Operational Services Melissa Robbins, told council that the train track sidewalks are construction intensive to build, requiring three separate concrete pours to get the desired effect, which is detrimental to businesses that have no access for their customers during the repeated pours.
The second issue is the sidewalks can become slippery during the winter, and due to the imprinted edges, the sections can be difficult to shovel after a snowfall.
The track themed sidewalk is also costly to maintain. In addition to the initial cost outlay of $300 per square meter, each block of the tracked sidewalk costs $14,000 every three years to maintain and even with regular maintenance, sections of the existing tracked sidewalk are showing signs of premature wear.
Robbins said that at the above quoted cost, to finish all of downtown with the tracked sidewalk it would cost about $12 million, compared to $6 million for the brushed concrete.
Council unanimously voted in favour of discontinuing rail themed sidewalks in most situations and go with standard brushed concrete sidewalks.