Arts & Life
Canstar Community News
After more than 45 years living in the same house in Green Acres, Beth and Craig Lee’s house suddenly became less accessible for them this summer.
In late July or early August, the street light in front of the Lees house on Hazelwood Crescent was removed and replaced with a fire hydrant as one aspect of several road improvements being undertaken in the area. Parts of Hazelwood and surrounding roads are still torn up and are actively being worked on by city crews.
Because of the narrow size of their lot, the fire hydrant means that the seniors can no longer park in front of their own home and no longer have the sidewalk in front of their home illuminated.
This is a problem for Beth, who has mobility issues because of a spinal problem and uses a walker to get around. Speaking to the Sun on Thursday, she said she was worried about the extra distance to walk with winter and icy surfaces getting closer by the day.
"We only have 39-foot frontage and I believe that you have to be 10 feet away from a fire hydrant," Beth said.
The road in front of their house is currently torn up for repairs, but the couple would like to be able to park closer once that work is finished.
She said they were never consulted by the city about the change. When she spoke with someone at the city’s planning department, she said she was told that since the change was made to city property, she had no say in the matter.
When she asked if the hydrant could be moved to the property line to allow for the Lees to park in front of their house, she said she was told that the city would have to remove a tree to do so and the city does not remove trees.
The Sun reached out to the city to speak with someone about the issue, but were told that no one was available for an interview. However, a city spokesperson did provide a statement via email.
"As part of this summer’s Water Main and Water Service Replacement Project on Hazelwood Crescent, an existing fire hydrant on the street was moved to a more preferred location on the street, in that this new location was at a higher elevation along the water main and this allows air to bleed from the water line easier," the email read.
"While the use of free on-street parking directly in front of one’s residence is always the natural preference, on-street parking remains available elsewhere along Hazelwood Crescent at no cost to the resident."
See ‘Senior’s’ — Page A2
The reason for the removed street light, the email continued, was because the existing light was over a water service that was being replaced and it needed to be moved for city workers to have access. However, the spokesperson wrote that the light will end up being replaced in a "nearby location."
"I’d prefer to park in front of my house, especially because I’m handicapped," Beth said.
Asked about the issue, city councillor for the Green Acres area, Jan Chaboyer, said she hoped an arrangement could be made.
"This is unfortunate that this has happened," Chaboyer said. "I hope the city will consider changing the location to accommodate this special need."
» Twitter: @ColinSlark
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