Walkway to be vetted by Chilliwack public safety committee

Council will be deciding whether or not to close a portion of Fletcher Street in downtown Chilliwack

The advisability of a pedestrian walkway along Fletcher Street adjacent to the housing project planned by Ruth & Naomi’s Mission came up at Tuesday’s city council meeting.

After some discussion about closing part of Fletcher Street and the walkway, council voted to refer the matter to the Public Safety Advisory Committee for their input.

The walkway issue initially came up at the public hearing as some residents said they still wanted to be able to access Yale Road from Princess Avenue along Fletcher.

“One of the asks from Ruth & Naomi’s was that they close off the road for a playground,” said Mayor Sharon Gaetz.

A fenced-in playground space would be created for residents of the supportive housing units just outside the building on Fletcher Street. The discussion this week was about whether it made sense to provide a pathway for the neighbours who would rather not walk around the block.

That part of Fletcher Street would be closed to cars, and in turn, closed off to some of the “nefarious” activities that happen around the site, said Gaetz.

The priority is making sure “it’s a beautiful design for the neighbourhood,” and creates a space where people can feel safe, added the mayor.

The Design Review Panel looked at the pedestrian pathway option around the play space, and decided it was not in favour, said Coun. Sam Waddington. The head of Engineering said the staff recommendation was to provide pedestrian connectivity.

“Maybe the correct thing to do is to refer it back to the Public Safety Advisory Committee,” offered Gaetz, adding that her understanding is that the public wants to access the road.

A pathway would address that.

“We want something we can be proud of,” the mayor added.