ESTEVAN - As hard as it is for some to believe, there are actually a few people who have a problem with the new pathway and sidewalk system under construction in Estevan.
Maybe they don’t realize that the provincial and federal governments are covering the majority of the cost, leaving the city to pick up the remaining $1 million on a nearly $4 million project.
Perhaps they have a problem with exercise, healthy living, spending time outdoors and having good recreation amenities in a community. Or maybe they’re upset with the minor driving inconvenience this project will cause.
Regardless, there is a small minority of people who are opposed.
Thankfully, the majority seems to grasp this project’s value.
As has been stated in this publication before, the sidewalk and pathway project is a much-needed addition to our community. Instead of having a series of pathways that are broken up into smaller segments, we’re going to have one large route that circles the community – a real asset for both residents and visitors alike.
And we’re going to be a safer community. We’ve already seen the construction of one much-needed sidewalk at the intersection of Souris Avenue South and Perkins Street.
Another one will be along Kensington Avenue. Of all the work that is going to happen, this is the single-most important one. It’s an addition that has been a long time coming, and we’re fortunate that there hasn’t been a serious pedestrian incident on Kensington, especially with the development that has taken place along that route over the past 20 years.
We’re going to see upgrades made for pedestrians walking around Mel Murray Cactus Park and we’re going to see a pathway constructed through the valley adjacent to Highway 39 in the west valley edge.
One of the few bright spots to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic is more people were out exercising, at least during the spring, summer and early fall. People had more time on their hands, since they didn’t have as many commitments as before. And many chose to use that time walking. They weren’t sitting at home watching Netflix.
And while we’re undoubtedly going to see a return to a more hectic pace of life now that restrictions have been lifted and activities have resumed, hopefully the people who have enjoyed walking, jogging, cycling and doing other activities on our pathways will continue to do so, even if it’s not as frequent.
Once this project is finished, we can complete a loop around our city, although it might take a while to complete the full 13-kilometre circuit.
We’re seeing a shift in our community. We’re no longer viewing Estevan as just a place to work; we’re seeing it as a place to live. The quality of life amenities, such as sport, recreation and cultural facilities, mean more to us than ever. These need to be attractive, well-maintained and a place that people want to use or access.
When people come to our community and talk about how great our city looks, the amenities that we have and the activities we offer at any time of year play a part in that. And when they praise the appearance of our city, we should be proud.
And we need to remember that appearance and quality facilities are a year-round initiative.
It is worth noting this pathway project wouldn’t have happened without the support of the provincial and federal governments. It would have remained on the back-burner, while other projects happened.
This is a legacy project. This is something that many years from now, the people of Estevan and visitors are going to look admire.
Sure, there’s going to be the costs associated with the upkeep and maintenance of these walking areas, both new and old, but that’s what happens when you have nice things. Quality costs money.
Our community is going to be much better off once this project is completed.
And hopefully we’ll be healthier, too.