Friday, November 21, 2008
As you come off of Connaught Drive just before Queensway Street in Prince George British Columbia, there is paved access to travel to the downtown core by foot or mobility device. In the area lays the Memorial that honors all people who will never come home from work again.The access trail is in a severe state of disrepair. It does nothing to attract citizens to the area to pay homage.
Early photos of the area that City Hall is built on showed a beautiful, relaxed area that had a gondola and always had people relaxing in a park like setting, perhaps a resting point as early wanderers came into the community from the west. The white lines in the photos are the crosswalks to areas north where the first stores and entertainment were situated in our early days.These areas are in disrepair too.
Back when the city first developed they planned an access route between Connaught Drive (Miller Addition west) and George Street.The route is historic and valuable as community walk areas.A separate route continues east across Queensway Street down Patricia Blvd past the houses of Miller Addition west. It ends with a good view at Bedford Place above the Fraser River. You are inside a closed off Cul-de-sac.You see Highway 16 east on it’s way to the rest of Canada the Yellowhead Bridge can be seen here, as well as the historic CN Train Bridge Prince George Crossing.There is a “Welcome to Prince George” sign across the highway, placed there when the road was altered slightly to the south in the mid 1980’s.More on that area here.
Heritage Trail also intersects at this point and continues its’ journey to the Cameron Street Bridge along the Nechako River.The confluence is just a few hundred meters north along the Fraser River from this point.I’ll write on the state of that trail in future text, I have an older blog at *URL*
As you turn left off of Connaught Drive towards City Hall you notice a pile of dirt on the left of the trail.It is the result of the hillside eroding and loose material rolling down. It is also a runoff point for rains and spring melt. The trail is quite close to the base of Connaught hill at this point.
Seasonal maintenance operations have chewed up the soil on this entrance.As you travel further down the trail, you notice many places where 3 to 4 inch “cracks” exist in the asphalt.There are places of pavement missing. In the spring and during rain, runoff erodes the trail even more. As you cross Patricia Blvd and travel down George Street alongside of City Hall, you try to avoid the worst of the potholes.On a mobility aid, you must avoid the sidewalk due to erosion around the “Enterprise Rent A Car” location at the corner of Patricia, Queensway and George St.
City Hall must be accessed by going around to the rear of the building (From Patricia) to access the sidewalk in order to enter the structure to do town business.All doors are electric, the building is completely accessible in all areas and the Municipal center is geared to accept everyone.Outside is a different story.
City Hall has four paths (those white lines radiating out from city hall) to access the cenotaph grounds, business entrances (up a flight of cement stairs or grassy knoll) or relax in the shade of a glade of exotic trees.It is a historic area, chosen in the mid 1960’s to host the Municipal HQ. Only 2 of these cement paths, the North West and North (center) access paths are mobility accessible.There is one directly across George Street and another a few meters further around the grounds with a 4” curb preventing access for so many.
The streets here are in a severe state of disrepair.Deep potholes encircle the lands’ business end.The pavement is eroding rapidly right next to the grounds due to extreme heavy traffic and low maintenance.The land was once fertile and peaceful; the developing community’s resting ground.Connaught Hill had a Ski Jump in the 1950’s; any events were visible from this point and close to the entertainment of the community.
Prince George has a mandate to become 100% accessible.It is destined to become the model for the larger community of British Columbia.BC has a mandate as well, to set the bar when it comes to National Accessibility.The city should take some pride and improve this high profile area.Municipal pride starts at home and this area should radiate that pride in it’s outward hospitality to all persons, no mater what the ability!