Fears over potential dangers to pedestrian safety have been expressed by business interests in Downtown Kemptville, particularly with regard to elderly pedestrians, or young families with children, trying to make their way from the municipal parking in Riverside Park to Prescott Street.

With plans by the municipality to create between 12 and 20 new parking spaces along Reuben Street, the general problem of downtown parking may be somewhat alleviated. But the lack of a safe sidewalk between the Park and the Post Office, CIBC Bank, or the Library, involves possible danger to pedestrians, in the minds of some.

A municipal staff member has confirmed that there are no plans by the municipality “at this point”, to repair the sidewalk on the Post Office side of Reuben, or to put one in on the CIBC side to link the parking with Prescott Street. Any change in those plans, or lack of them, would normally have to wait until next year’s budget deliberations.

The danger to pedestrians was underlined by the tragic death of one man on County Road 43 while crossing the bridge over the South Branch, when he was hit by a passing vehicle.

Aside from the physical danger to citizens, it has been noted that liability issues for the municipality are also involved in this situation, more particularly as municipal signage is encouraging people to make use of the Riverside Park spaces. Failure to allocate funds to deal with this problem by the municipality could become a false savings, should a death or injury result in litigation.

As part of creating the extra parking spaces in Riverside Park, the municipality is hoping to acquire a right-of-way from the Upper Canada District School Board, which would allow drivers to access Prescott Street through the old High School grounds. This easement, and a properly constructed sidewalk from the Park to the CIBC, would certainly solve much of this potential problem.

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