It’s All In The Works

OVER the past three weeks, something remarkable has been happening to our sidewalks, especially in the city’s business district. Many are being scarred by workmen with noisy jackhammers chipping away at years of decay and neglect, paving the way – pun intended – for a more aesthetic look and feel. But all this re-paving effort comes at a heavy cost.

The first cost relates to the inconvenience caused to many pedestrians as they make their way through the city. Given that the Christmas season has already befallen us, one can expect the added inconvenience that can result when the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping now has to be worsened by limited sidewalk space. While the initiative deserves a great deal of praise, it does come at an inopportune time. Nevertheless, one can argue that creating jobs at this time of year trumps any inconvenience. It’s all in the works.

The second cost comes obviously at a high financial value. Given that government’s coffers are continuously being described as being empty, credit must go to the authorities for filling the voids in our city’s walkways. Investing in walkable and decent sidewalks should remain a priority for any city council worth its salt. What needs to happen, however, is a more intensified programme for fixing many of our sidewalks that are fast strolling themselves into disrepair. The programme need not commence in December, though.

Positive changes to the city’s sidewalks notwithstanding, it would be the onus of the Castries City Council (CCC) to ensure that while exorbitant amounts of funds are invested to rehabilitate our city sidewalks that vendors do not chip away at them to erect their immovable steel structures that further limit the sidewalk space pedestrians have at their disposal. Good works must be appreciated, not depreciated by unscrupulous sidewalk vendors willing to make a buck at the expense of hard-earned taxpayer dollars.

If these sidewalks restoration efforts are to make any meaningful impact, there needs to be stringent policies on all our part – especially the CCC – to ensure that what we spend so much on today we can afford to walk comfortably on years down the road.

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