An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
I CAN’T THINK of a worse place to spend a few million dollars worth of City taxpayers’ money than building a pedestrian overpass across Summit Drive from Upper College Heights to Thompson Rivers University.
The decision by the provincial government to facilitate a loan of $25.5 million for TRU toward the purchase of the privately run Upper College Heights student housing facility is good news.
In total, it’s a $37-million transaction that will provide another 142 student units on top of the 391 units already there.
The bad news is that when the renos are finished next year there will be more students than ever making the short walk from Upper College Heights to the university on the other side of the Summit Drive connector.
The problem is with lazy students who would rather ran the gauntlet across the four-lane Summit Drive than walk an extra half a block up to the signal-controlled crosswalk at McGill and cross there.
Sooner or later, there will be a tragedy on Summit. Some kid carrying a backpack full of books will shortcut across that street and won’t make it.
A half dozen years ago, the estimate for building a pedestrian overpass — which a lot of students would ignore anyway — was $2.5 million, so figure on doubling that now. At the same time, building a fence — which has been recommended since 1993 — would have been about $250,000.
But even the fence has been ignored because of cost.
Something has to be done but it’s not the duty of City taxpayers to do it. It’s TRU’s problem, and it should be TRU’s or the province’s money that fixes it, whether it be an overpass or the much more sensible fence.
Not one thin dime of City taxpayers’ money should be spent to bail TRU out of its responsibility on this one.
Mel Rothenburger’s Armchair Mayor editorials appear Mondays through Thursdays on CFJC- TV. His Armchair Mayor column is published Saturdays on ArmchairMayor.ca and CFJC Today. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.