Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach hosted a public meeting about the 'lonely sidewalk' on Sept. 1.

Smithers council takes heat over ‘lonely sidewalk’

About 60 people attended a public meeting to question Smithers council about its sidewalk bylaw Thursday afternoon.

Smithers’ ‘lonely sidewalk’ and the bylaw that brought it to life were at the centre of a lively discussion during a public meeting at the town hall Sept. 1.

Speaking about the bylaw, Mayor Taylor Bachrach asked the nearly 60 people attending, “is this that much of a disincentive for local businesses?”

The response from business owners in attendance was a resounding yes.

The Town’s practice of requiring businesses to complete off-site work including sewers, paving and sidewalks when they apply for a development permit for $75,000 or more has generated considerable attention with the completion of a singular stretch of sidewalk along its frontage road. The ‘sidewalk to nowhere’ has been turning heads since it was completed in early August as part of a renovation project by North Central Plumbing and Heating.

Bachrach said completing the sidewalk along that length of the frontage road will cost $100,000, and if the Town were to do the work itself, it would have to raise the money via a three per cent tax increase.

Several councillors also attended. Bachrach said a decision whether to change the bylaw will be made at a future council meeting.

For more on this story, read the Sept. 7 edition of the Smithers Interior News.