Cyclists and walkers can again pass through Manson Extension without concern since City of Powell River workers addressed a water issue that had developed into a safety situation.
Jenny Milne and Joan Barszczewski started riding through the extension last May. The two women, who share grandchildren, had decided to buy themselves new bikes and get exercise that way during the COVID-19 pandemic. Barszczewski had not ridden a bicycle for years and Milne rode a borrowed bike around Inland Lake a few times in recent years.
Their chosen route takes them up Westview Avenue and along the extension to the airport, then back along the extension all the way to Toba Street, along Mackenzie Avenue to Penticton Street and Ontario Avenue, back up Westview to the city airport and back along the extension. In total they cross the extension four times on their route that they ride six days a week, weather permitting.
“The extension area really started to deteriorate in the fall when the rains came,” explained Milne.
Barszczewski said the issues led to people rerouting their excursions rather than attempting to cross through the affected area.
“We passed a lot of older people walking as well as other cyclists,” said Barszczewski. “It got so bad that many people just turned around when they saw the condition of the extension rather than walk through.”
She predicted that either she or Milne was “going to fall in” the mud and water. And she was the one who finally ended up falling off her bike and into the muddy water. So, the pair started to dismount from their bikes and walk along the area so it wouldn’t happen to either of them again.
“We decided we needed to take some action as it was seriously dangerous,” said Barszczewski. “Someone was going to fall and hurt themselves, even though I didn’t. I only got wet and muddy.”
Milne called City Hall in November to explain their concerns and gave the information about where the extension problem area was located. Both she and Barszczewski also wrote their concerns in emails. In a responding email, they were told that their information had been forwarded to the city department responsible for roads.
“Mike Cunning (from the road crew) called a few weeks later to tell us he drove down the extension and could see the problem,” said Milne. “He said after a couple of nice weather days, they would repair it and they did.”
In addition to putting down road crush, the crew installed a culvert to drain the water that had been accumulating.
“It was great that they responded so quickly and fixed the problem,” said Milne. “Now we can ride through there and it’s also safer for other cyclists and walkers.”
Barszczewski said she was “really appreciative of what they’ve done, coming in a timely fashion after we contacted them. They said they were going to fix the problem and they did.”