by Catherine Berry
What a joy it is to walk around our vibrant and compact village! One afternoon recently, I met friends for coffee, returned library books, bought fish, and picked up meds from the drugstore, all without having to drive my car.
But not everyone has the ability (or the audacity) to walk and cycle by the #7 Highway.Moving around our village is more than just doing errands. It is also getting a little fresh air
and exercise, supporting our local businesses, meeting our neighbours, and feeling a part of
the community. It’s good for our physical and mental health and good for our local economy.
In order to do all that safely, we need well designed infrastructure. But what exactly do we need, and where do we need it? The MHACCCA (Musquodoboit Harbour and Area Chamber of Commerce and Civic Affairs) are collaborating with the Dalhousie College of Sustainability to look at exactly these questions.
We are fortunate to have help from four bright and insightful students in the Dalhousie College of Sustainability who are in their final year—their Capstone year—all with double majors. Let me introduce them:
Gillian Blackburn (Sustainability & Management)
Jordan Gowan (Sustainability & International Development)
Sam Wallace (Sustainability & Environmental Science)
Matthew Wolff (Sustainability & International Development)
These four students and I took advantage of the good fall weather last month to go for a walk and talk about the issues and options.
In the coming months they will be researching best practices—what could work here in our community to allow people moving through the village on foot, with wheelchairs and walkers, with strollers, and on bicycles, as well as managing the smooth flow of vehicle traffic. Building on previous work by Ekistics and community members, they will also study where we actually walk and roll.
You will be hearing from us soon. We would like to hear from everyone, especially those who have not yet had an opportunity to express their experiences and needs. If you are interested in this exiting project, call Catherine at 902 471-1744 or email at [email protected]
[Editor’s note: In a recent Facebook post, Tina O'Brien Shuman asked, “I am wondering if anyone has noticed the student from the high school in the wheel chair trying to get around on the sad shoulders of the road. David Hennesbee...Kevin Murphy.” District 2 Councillor David Hendsbee posted this reply: “HRM is working with the MHACCCA on its Streetscape design for a sidewalk along Highway 7 from Little River Bridge to the Musquodoboit River. We are trying to find Provincial & Federal infrastructure funding to pay for the capital costs and we also need to cover the annual maintenance costs such as snowplowing and salt to control the ice and snow.”]