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into account as we incur additional costs in routing sidewalks
around such trees? And what about other plantings and
adopted policy on how to handle that, either.
Those are but a few examples of the big-picture considerations
that we haven’t resolved, but should, before embarking on an
ambitious sidewalk program. Instead, the approach to date has
really been quite piecemeal and haphazard.
It’s not fair to our residents, who lately feel they must monitor
who have better things to be working on than an ever-changing
council direction on sidewalks. And it’s not fair to ourselves on
council, either. Frankly, this is not a shining example of good
Residents are looking to us for leadership. Residents are
looking to me for leadership. Council, we’re at a critical
juncture here. Honest self-assessment from time to time is a
good thing, and we shouldn’t be afraid to recognize what’s not
working and to alter course when necessary.
issue—or really, I should say, all sides of the issue—asking why
the process we’re following. These are all fair questions.
heard from so many residents—who are both for and against
sidewalks—that this just isn’t their highest priority right now.
year, these were all things we started before Harvey but that
no longer command quite the same priority that they may have
previously. That’s what people are telling us. Certainly not all
people, but by and large the perceived urgency over sidewalks is
of council’s own making.
…Respectfully, I do want to challenge council to consider
that it is possible to be pro-sidewalk, while at the same time
recognizing that now may not be the right time. That building
them now makes it too late to go back in the future and unbuild
them, but to instead take our time, conduct a more
thorough, deliberative and inclusive process, in hopes of
arriving at a broader community consensus with greater buy-in,
would not prevent us in the future from moving forward should
that consensus so dictate. In the meantime, we’ve not yet given
that a chance.
In conclusion, I don’t doubt the sincerity or intentions of those
on either side of the issue, and I respect all viewpoints. For
some, sidewalks are a higher priority than for others, even those
generally in support, and that’s OK.
I would suggest to council that while there’s a time for leading
from out front, there’s also a time to look back and make sure
the people are still following.
All these sidewalk issues have become an unnecessary
distraction. It’s disruptive to our everyday business. I call upon
council to bring it to an orderly resolution as soon as possible,
things we need to be doing right now.
This is an excerpt from the Mayor’s Musings blog
post on the sidewalk issue, which incorporated
his remarks to City Council. For the complete post
and remarks, go to cityofbellairemayorsmusings.
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