Public works: Cobra Climb/ new water feature/bear-proof trash containers

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
June 13th, 2013

Public works is busy with several projects, from upgrading the popular Cobra Climb stairs to adding a new water feature to showcase last year’s Sculpturewalk People’s Choice, Patient Hunter by Kevin Kratz and James Karthein.

City councillor and chair of council’s public work and transportation committee Kevin Chernoff said work is complete at Cobra Climb, awaiting only a Fortis connection to power it all up, adding the project came in dramatically under budget.

“We originally budgeted about $20,000, but only spent just under $6,000 because we decided not to put the new parking area at the bottom,” he said. “It would’ve disturbed the natural vegetation, and it just works better to have parking at the top anyway – It allows access to the Kinnaird Loop Trail up there, so it all works together.”

What they did do, he said, was install lighting in the stair roof and rework the bottom area, installing a picnic table and bear-proof garbage container, clearing away some of the brush, etc.

“Once Fortis comes in, I imagine we’ll have a little ribbon-cutting ceremony or something to officially unveil the upgrades,” Chernoff added. “And one thing that’s small, but I think it’s a neat idea – we’re going to label some of the stairs, ‘You’ve now reached stair 67’, that kind of thing.”

Meanwhile, work has just begun on a pond-style water feature being constructed in the green space within the highway interchange on Columbia Avenue, directly across from CIBC. The water feature, which Chernoff said should also cost roughly $6,000, will be the new home of Patient Hunter, the heron sculpture that captured People’s Choice honours in 2012 and thus was purchased as a permanent accessory for the city. LED lighting will highlight the attraction to make it appealing regardless the time of day.

“It should go in, probably, the middle of next week,” Chernoff said.

Finally, while perhaps not as esthetically appealing as the previous two projects, but equally if not more important, are the bear-proof garbage containers being installed throughout the city.

Chernoff said the city has been installing six of these containers per year for the past the years, bringing the city’s total up to 24 containers with this summer’s additions.

“We’ve been pushing residents to responsibly secure their garbage and bear attractants; we’ve even passed bylaws to encourage better stewardship,” he said, adding it’s heartbreaking to see so many bears killed in the city every summer. “This carries it through and sets a good example on the city’s part.”