Bike lane not dead

Duane Hicks

Colonization Road West might see a bike lane down the road after all.
A proposal from the Northwestern Health Unit for an on-road bike lane was denied by the town last month after several executive committees cited the current road as being too narrow to safely accommodate it.
But Mayor Roy Avis told a Police Services Board meeting this morning that an off-road bike lane could factor into future construction plans.
“That road is due for reconstruction,” he noted. “The watermain on that road is in very, very poor condition.
“So we’ve actually applied for grants to redo that whole length of Colonization Road.”
If that funding comes through, the infrastructure would be replaced and the road rebuilt, the mayor said.
But rather than put a boulevard on one side of the road, the town could put a strip of pavement down one side, like the bike path along La Verendrye Parkway at the riverfront.
“That’s going to be added into the tender in order to accommodate the people in that area,” said Mayor Avis.
He did note one issue that will have to be figured out is which side of the street the path should go on, as well as where it will end.
Until then, town council is asking the OPP to step up speed awareness and enforcement along Colonization Road West.
S/Sgt. Scott Gobeil, operation manager for the Rainy River District OPP detachment, noted the speed sign owned by the Rainy River District Community Policing Committee has been deployed to Colonization Road West a couple of times in recent months.
Meanwhile, Mayor Avis said he hopes some traffic on Colonization Road West can be alleviated if more motorists going back and forth from Alberton use Oakwood Road (Boundary Road) if they are going to businesses on King’s Highway.
While it used to be a rough ride, Oakwood Road was resurfaced this summer.
In other news, several new OPP officers have arrived at the local detachment.
D/Sgt. Mark Chwastyk transferred here from Geraldton on Aug. 5.
He replaces D/Sgt. Frank Mitchell, area crime supervisor, who left July 2.
PC Kent Slomke started here Aug. 3, having transferred from Geraldton, while Sgt. Wayne MacIntyre became regional employee assistance program co-ordinator as of Aug. 18.
The process to replace him has begun.
As a side note, S/Sgt. Gobeil noted the local detachment no longer is a starting point for new recruits.
In fact, there’s a waiting list of 12 seasoned officers who want to transfer here.
Meanwhile, the annual police auction was held here last Friday evening (Sept. 26).
Low attendance of only about 10 bidders (possibly due to the nice weather) resulted in it raising $378.