Main Street, Smithers. (Grant Harris photo)

Main Street, Smithers. (Grant Harris photo)

Smithers Council Briefs, Regular Meeting, May 11, 2021

Mountainview Drive and Sidewalk Improvements

Smithers council has awarded the contract for improvements to Mountainview Drive in the amount of $207,054 to Cutting Edge Projects.

Changes to Mountainview Drive will include widening between Glacier Street and Pioneer Place, improving the sidewalks along the lane-way and improvements to storm drainage and site grading.

The intersection of Mountainview Drive and Glacier Street will also be reconstructed. The improvements tie into the right-of-way upgrades carried out by SD54 in conjunction with the new Walnut Park Elementary School building.

Students accessing Walnut Park School from the east along Mountainview drive will benefit from a new sidewalk, and be safer, as there is no sidewalk there currently.

Perimeter Trail Connector

Smithers council has authorized staff to award design, tendering and construction management engineering services for Perimeter Trail improvements to Bulkley Valley Engineering Services, at an estimated fee of $40,770.

The Perimeter Trail will be upgraded in three primary locations;

Section A, will construct the missing connector between Dogwood Park/Second Avenue and Schibli Street, in the Chicken Creek gully (Golf Club property).

Section B, will reconstruct the trail behind Schibli Street to Highway 16.

Section C, will relocate the Highway 16 crosswalk at the Schibli Street intersection to the crest of the hill.

As much as possible, the trail will be constructed to universal design standards for accessibility, according to an engineering report to the town.

Correspondence from the Bulkley Valley Christian School

Three Bulkley Valley Christian School students have requested that the town create more bike lanes, rename Lake Kathlyn to its traditional Wet’suwet’en name and create a safe injection site in Smithers, each in letters included at council’s May 11 regular meeting.

Council felt renaming Lake Kathlyn may be a matter that comes up in negotiations between the province and Office of the Wet’suwet’en and that it is not something council can do. Coun. Frank Wray also noted the area is not within town limits.

The concept of a safe injection site for Smithers was thought-provoking for many on council and brought about lively discussion. Council felt that this may be a topic brought to the Situation Table that is being formed in Smithers, as there will be representatives from numerous health, social and safety organizations on that panel, who would be able to address this issue, and possibly put recommendations forward.

As for more bike lanes, council will direct the student to the Active Transportation Plan discussions underway in Smithers and invite the youth to provide more input to committees already undertaking work on bike lanes and pathways, such as Cycle 16 and the Perimeter Trail.

With respect to all three letters, council was pleased to hear from a youth perspective on some of the issues important to them and want to encourage other young people to get involved in local governance. Mayor Gladys Atrill will write return letters thanking each of the students for their submissions.

Art Gallery Request

Council is considering a request from the Smithers Art Gallery to repurpose wood from the trees that will be removed from Main Street as part of the town’s landscaping project this summer.

The wood could be used for artisans to carve and use for art projects that would then be displayed at the gallery, a letter to council stated.

The request led to a wider discussion that ranged from salvaging shrubs from downtown, to repurposing the trees slated for removal, to the cost to remove and store the trees at the Smithers works yard and to a potential cost increase to the contract that has already been tendered, to the 40-year history of the current landscaping.

In the end, council directed staff to work directly with the contractor to see if any of the idea is possible at this late date in the process. A return letter to the Art Gallery will be contingent on what the town finds out from the contractor.


Foliage on Main Street in Smithers. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

Foliage on Main Street in Smithers. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

Smithers Town Hall. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

Smithers Town Hall. (Trevor Hewitt photo)