For years, residents of the city of Estevan have requested and expressed a high priority for developing the walkability of our city. Council has had improvements in the works for many years and now the time has finally come where the proposals have been matched with funding and we have PATHWAYS!
As part of the Investing in Canadian Infrastructure Program, the pathway expansion project has received just shy of 4 million dollars in funding from the Government of Canada, the Government of Saskatchewan and the City of Estevan. This expansion includes 13 km of new pathways and sidewalks to join together existing paths/sidewalks. What’s more exciting is that significant sections of this project are already completed! Beyond the paved walkways, we can also expect to see public washrooms added as well as solar lights in certain areas and a pedestrian bridge.
Because our family lives in the Westview area we’ve always been able to step outside our front door and be on a path within minutes. Heading through the park and into the valley has afforded a semi-urban and semi-natural route to enjoy. This hasn’t been the case for all areas of the city through – until now! This project is a huge advancement for our city.
We couldn’t wait to get out and explore the new trails. Hitting that new smooth black pavement with our bikes reminded me of the scene in the Disney movie Cars where Radiator Springs gets their road fixed (side note: I’ve watched that movie at least 60+ times when my son was 2). The path was so smooth, so black, and so fun!
The section on the north end of the city was one of the first to be completed and we toured along that end, looping around the Comp and Spruce Ridge. Biking is not my preferred method of transport and there were some definite leg burner hills on that section! The hills add interest and fun. We saw multiple groups of kids lining up their scooters and bikes at the top of the hill, racing down and then running up to do it again. I also love that the path takes you through pastoral scenery. It’s so lovely to veer just out of town and be walking through the fields and along the valleys. The section along the hospital is also completed and it runs along Lynn Prime Park, then through Padwick Park and then down Wellock past the Church of God.
These new pathways are designed to safely connect existing paths and then to extend. As a parent, it brings so much peace of mind to have a way around the city that is further removed from traffic and has light-controlled crosswalks where applicable. It also dramatically increases transportation options for people as it’s easier than ever to bike or walk to work or wherever else you need to be.
I am genuinely excited to see the impacts of this trail system. Though it may seem like just a “nice feature” for a city, it is far more than that. These paths are a massive encouragement for people to get outside and use them. The city has increased accessibility to paths exponentially. With less than 44% of adults getting the recommended (one hour) of physical activity a day we can see how providing more access and encouragement to be active can greatly improve physical health.
Getting into a green space and being active in it for even just 20 minutes a day has significant benefits to our mental health as well. So many of these paths bring patrons through parks, valleys and alongside grasslands so I am confident we will see the benefit there as well. Stats show that more than two-thirds of all physical activity occurs close to home so it is imperative that cities create opportunities like these paths to get outside.
Each time we’ve been on the paths we’ve been encouraged to see so many people (spanning generations) using the trails. Whether walking, running, biking, scootering, rollerblading or pushing strollers these walkways are getting a ton of action and we cannot wait to see the whole system completed.