Uncertainty over 170 St. footbridge replacement
An Edmonton councillor wants West Edmonton Mall (WEM) to replace the footbridge it demolished on 170 Street.
Andrew Knack issued an update to his constituents on his Facebook page. The ward 1 councillor explained the city gave WEM a permit to tear down the bridge with the condition it would build a new one. The mall originally agreed, but has since appealed to the Subdivision Development Appeal Board (SDAB).
WEM General Manager Danielle Woo issued a response Thursday afternoon. She said WEM and the city agreed to demolish the bridge based on an engineering report that revealed the overpass “posed significant risk to public safety.” The two parties also discussed a number of issues, which included who is responsible for the footbridge (Knack believes WEM is) and whether a new overpass was needed.
“The City department that issued the development permit for the bridge’s removal was apparently unaware of these ongoing discussions, and placed the rebuild condition on the permit that is inconsistent with our discussions with the City,” Woo said in WEM’s statement.
This is a personal issue for Knack, who argues the footbridge is a vital piece of infrastructure for west-end residents.
“I used that bridge five days a week for about six years when I worked in West Edmonton Mall prior to being on council,” Knack told CTV News. “Every day you would go there and you’d see employees using that bridge … you’d see a lot of seniors and people with mobility aids using that because it’s far safer to cross over that bridge than it is trying to go to 170th Street and 87th Avenue and cross a fairly massive roadway.”
Knack said the meeting with the appeal board is tentatively scheduled for September, and encourages people to attend and register to speak. Woo said WEM will present its arguments at the appeal, and asked residents to share their opinions with them.