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N.K. resident wants Douglas Ave. bench

Says it will help seniors getting to Millennium Gardens concerts

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The Good Neighbours Active Living Centre recorder club performs at Millennium Gardens on Douglas Avenue on July 11. A local resident wants the city to install a bench along Douglas for seniors walking to the concerts.

PHOTO BY DAN FALLOON Enlarge Image

The Good Neighbours Active Living Centre recorder club performs at Millennium Gardens on Douglas Avenue on July 11. A local resident wants the city to install a bench along Douglas for seniors walking to the concerts. Photo Store

A North Kildonan woman thinks there are plenty of people who are more than happy to warm a bench on Douglas Avenue.

There just needs to be a bench first.

June Denchuk, 78, said approximately 20 seniors who live along Henderson Highway will often trek down Douglas to attend Thursday night concerts at the Millennium Gardens.

She said seniors walking down the street, which doesn’t have sidewalks, need to take a rest at certain points along the way. She would like to see a bench approximately "one-third" of the way down Douglas for those travelling east.

"It is quite a long stretch from when they leave the apartment, go to the crosswalk, and cross over to the east side of Douglas and start walking," said Denchuk. "As they’re walking, they could stop and take a little breather, a rest."

Denchuk noted some people use walkers to travel, and can rest on it, but companions not using one must stand since there is no bench. As well, she thinks those walking to catch buses would make use of a bench.

Denchuk said concert attendees like coming down for the shows, which often include a singalong.

Denchuk said she initially contacted Kildonan-St. Paul MP Joy Smith on July 8, and was referred to Coun. Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan).

She said Browaty told her having a bench on Douglas wasn’t initially feasible. In an interview on July 9, though, Browaty said he’d given the issue some more thought, though several dominoes do need to fall for it to become a reality.

He noted the lack of a public sidewalk along the street, but said installing a gravel trail is a possibility, and a bench could soon follow. He said residents would need to be consulted first, a step he encouraged Denchuk to take.

"There’s certainly a chance that people start loitering," he said. "During the day, seniors aren’t a problem, but if you start to put in amenities like a bench, stalkers could be sitting on a bench watching people cross the street. Typically, in a residential neighbourhood, we don’t put (benches) up right across the street from single family housing."

Browaty said if residents of the block were OK with a bench, he would find a way to get the $1,500 to install it.

He added those walking to concerts are encouraged to take the paved asphalt trail along Chief Peguis Trail, just south of Douglas, which features plenty of benches.

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