Stop the residential boulevard program

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Residents are tired of being bullied by the town of Whitecourt and forced to spend money on the residential boulevard program. 

Over the past two years, the Town of Whitecourt has been working in selected areas to transition residential boulevards from gravelled pads to turf grass. The town claims they have received complaints about the gravel pads from residents, but every resident I have spoken to about this issue thinks it’s a redecilous project and doesn’t agree with it. We need to show the town how many people disagree with it. 

Their claims:

Identified by the public as a concern - Gravel placed next to driveways was one of the issues raised through public input when the Town was reviewing its Land Use Bylaw in 2014 and 2015 as being not esthetically pleasing.

Residents response Since when did personal opinion become a bylaw? Gravel is the most practical form of landscaping in some cases. Many of our resident’s work in the oilfield and drive home dirty oilfield work trucks, the road would be much more full of gravel and rocks if these work trucks stayed on the street instead of parking on a gravel RV pad. Some have been willing to replace it With decorative landscaping rock but the town has said no, because it limits on street parking (see response for on street parking) And if the town has such an issue with gravel landscaping, why did they allow the New Walmart Power centre to use landscaping in their treed boulevards? Why does the town have gravel in the back alleys, and why do they allow the mobile home parks to have gravel roads? They are picking apart individual residents who have well maintained gravel but leaving out themselves and the big corporations.

▪ They said Deteriorates road infrastructure - When used as a driving surface, and following heavy runoff, tracked gravel speeds up the deterioration of Town sidewalks and roadways.

Residents response, Not everyone affected has a sidewalk in front of their house, some front yards meets the road, just like a gravel back alley meets a road. There is so much more gravel and rock in the spring from all the gravel the town puts down on the roads and it gets left on everyone's front lawn which kills the grass and then It has to re-seed every year anyway. They never come and sweep it up. Furthermore, a packed gravel pad does not track near as much gravel as a dirty work truck does when it is forced to park on the road.

▪ they said Pedestrian safety – Tracked gravel on sidewalks is a hazard for young cyclists, roller-bladers and skateboarders.

Parking on the street does not = pedestrian safety, especially where there are no sidewalks. And in areas such as a cul-de-sac where it would not only be very dangerous to park on the street because children play in the cul-de-sac, and it would be congested in the case of the fire. Streets could become less congested and safer making the whole neighbourhood to become more visually appealing if they would allow residents to move their vehicles off the streets and onto their own property (where space allows).

▪ they said it Limits on-street parking - On some streets, on-street parking is limited and people visiting a residential area may find it difficult to park when driveways, through the gravel pads, appear to be excessively wide.

Residents response, The town also has a bylaw that says you must be 1.5 meters away from a driveway access not all residential areas have enough frontage to allow onstreet parking therefore you couldn’t park there anyway. Example of this would be a cul-de-sac’s because they are pie shaped with narrow access at the front and wide at the back. And when you actually look at some of these areas, they actually free up more space for parking in general with the gravel park pads.

▪ they said Utilities – If work needs to be done to underground services in the boulevard, the surface will only be restored to a grass standard, as per municipal bylaws.

Residents response, It would be cheaper and easier to move my decorative rock to the side to do the work, then move it back with the work was complete, not to mention it wouldn’t take a couple weeks for the grass to grow back in after they were done.

The town should focus on properties that get neglected and become unsightly due to overgrowth and excessive weed growth but for many home owners who spend a lot of time and efforts into their yards to make them look nice, the should be allowed to have a variety of landscaping options including but not limited to gravel. Sign and share if you agree. 



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