Not all victims of crime have cars

The Slave Lake library, courthouse, town office, Service Canada, the Slave Lake hospital, and most other government buildings are easily accessible on foot, which is good because not all Slave Lakers have ready access to a vehicle. This seems like an important consideration for government buildings. However, the current and proposed RCMP detachment don’t (or likely won’t) have safe pedestrian access.

The current Slave Lake detachment is in southeast Slave Lake off 6th Ave. SE. By car, it is accessible. However, the only sidewalk near the RCMP station does not connect with the RCMP sidewalk. Therefore, on foot people have a few bad options – jaywalking, walking through deep snow, walking on a busy road for half a block, or walking through the parking lot that says ‘Police only.’ In the winter, most people (including RCMP officers returning from lunch) jaywalk. In the summer, people walk on the grass or jaywalk. Interestingly, the old RCMP detachment – (Lakeview Optometry Clinic in northeast Slave Lake) also doesn’t have a sidewalk.

Not everyone in Slave Lake has a vehicle, so it follows that not every victim of crime can drive to the police station. Also, people go to the RCMP station in person to get a criminal record check for jobs or volunteer work.

The current Slave Lake RCMP detachment is aging. Town of Slave Lake council is looking into building a new one sometime in the future.

The only location mentioned so far for the new detachment is near the fire hall in northwest Slave Lake. With the new walking trail, this is somewhat accessible by foot, but it is in an industrial area, so is inconvenient from much of Slave Lake. Also, the front entrance of the fire hall is on Caribou Trail, which doesn’t have any sidewalks. On the other side of the fire hall, Fournier Place (a residential area) is not connected to the fire hall by a sidewalk.

Other than fire fighters, people seldom go to the fire hall in person so this isn’t a problem. However, the outdoor exercise equipment at the fire hall is open to the public.

Since the walking trail has been added between the Gathering Place and Big Fish Bay, the fire department has noticed more people using the exercise equipment, says fire chief Alex Pavcek.

The RCMP station isn’t the only place in Slave Lake without proper pedestrian access.

Caribou Trail and the area north of it has no sidewalks. As this is mostly industrial, this isn’t a huge issue. However, there are some exemptions. A gym and a new fitness studio are on Caribou Trail. People wanting to walk to the gym would have to walk on a busy road.

Another place where sidewalks and a crosswalk would be very useful on Caribou Trail is by the Sawridge Travel Centre off of Hwy. 88. This is the bus stop in Slave Lake.

Other parts of Slave Lake that do not have sidewalks or walking trails include: parts of the residential areas in the northwest, most of Gloryland, and the northern part of Main St. by gymnastics and Woodland Place apartments.

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