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Phased in approach for Skywalk landscape

At a special meeting on Thursday, Trail council increased Phase I landscaping at the Skywalk approaches to $330,000.
Future view from the East Trail side of Skywalk.

A patch of grass on each end of the Skywalk is a little too basic for such a grand build.

Trail council agreed to up the ante from $140,000 for rudimentary bridge landscaping to $330,000 during a special meeting on Thursday, thereby allowing “full and unfettered” access to any individual who may want to use the structure.

“We have got a world class structure with the Columbia River Skywalk,” Trail Mayor Mike Martin told the Trail Times. “It’s going to provide fantastic bike and pedestrian access, and it is going to be a fully integrated feature in our community.”

After reviewing a first round concept for basic landscaping and connections, council chose to consider a more advanced design.

“The original concept was not really in keeping with the sort of structure we will have there at the end of this year,” Martin explained. “So we asked a study to be done to provide full integration of both approaches consistent with the Downtown Revitalization Plan, and that’s what we received back.”

The dilemna with the final design is cost - it totals about $1 million.

“So we asked for a phasing of that concept - and that is what was approved today, the first phase of work that is complementary to the original design work done, and also complementary to the work that was already built into the Graham Construction contract,” he added. “They were required to bring the approaches up to a workable standard, so what we are really doing is building off that and not duplicating work at a later stage.”

From a budget perspective the cost of the Change Order (increase) should be charged to the overall bridge construction account and the separate moneys added to the overall bridge account, Chief Administrative Officer David Perehudoff, noted in his council brief.

“To the city’s advantage, the adjustment of the Riverfront Centre budget and the reallocation of funds have resulted in some excess financial capacity. Council will still need to be cautious in the context of any future commitments and moving forward with Phase II, while seen as a high priority, may have to be deferred.”

The first leg of work includes installing new curbs, sidewalks, catch basins and irrigation sleevings. Additionally, roads will be prepped for paving, concrete bridge approaches installed and security bollards secured into place.

Phase II work nears $520,000 and involves the “pretty” such as decorative concrete sidewalks, sidewalk lighting, benches, a wayfinding kiosk, flowers and greenery. The final stage, estimated at $190,000 includes added design work for the Thom Street and Columbia Avenue intersection (Butler Park area).

Martin emphasizes the ensuing phases of work (as pictured above) may not happen for a few years.

“What we are doing right now is just the first phase of getting to (completion),” he said. “It’s really going to depend on our financial capacity as we go into budgeting for 2017, and exactly what further work we will be doing in the immediate future, we may put that off for a couple of years.”

The phasing of future improvements may have to be considered further in terms of timing and scope, Perehudoff added. “The most immediate concern is to deal with the improvements outline that will ensure the bridge is fully functional and to make provisions for future improvements in accordance with the design."

Sheri Regnier

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