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Richmond residents raise safety concerns as city removes popular dyke pathway

City said the pathway was removed for safety reasons and there are no plans to replace it
A pathway to help people access the Fraser River dyke near Gibbons Drive was recently removed by the city.

Some Richmond residents are upset after the city removed a pathway people used to access the Fraser River dyke and said its removal poses safety concerns.

The dyke near River Road in west Richmond has been a popular place for local residents to take a walk and enjoy a view of the river.

To make it easier for people to access the dyke, some local residents built a one-and-half-foot wide wooden pathway with gravel on the top a few years ago, at the corner of Gibbons Drive and River Road.

However, the pathway was removed by the city last week.

“There's no pathway anymore…people just go up the embankment on the grass. It's very slippery and very steep, so I consider that extremely dangerous,” said Neil Filipek, a resident of the neighbourhood.

He said students from Thompson Elementary often went up the dyke through the pathway to do their outings, and there were parents with baby carriers using the pathway to access the dyke.

“Now they don't have access," said Filipek.

Rae Dunlop, another local resident, also expressed disappointment about the removal of the pathway and the lack of replacement plans from the city.

“We called the city and were told this was done to prevent liability issues from people falling. How is closing off all access points onto the dyke a solution?" said Dunlop.

"Instead of putting grass … why not build wooden stairs like the one built on Lynas Lane and River Road?” 

City: Old pathway was unsafe

The City of Richmond said the pathway was removed for the safety of pedestrians and to maintain the structural integrity of the dike, but it has no plans to replace it.

"The pathway that was removed had been constructed informally and was not part of the city's planned infrastructure," said Gerina Heathe, a spokesperson for the City of Richmond.

"Residents can access the dyke safely via formal pathways located at No. 1 Road and Lynas Lane. We continue to evaluate the need for additional access points and will keep the community informed of any future developments."

However, the nearest pathways at No.1 and River Road is about 350 metres away from the crossroad where the old pathway was, and Filipek said “there is no way are [people] going to do it.”

"There are cars whipping up and down, and I'm really in fear that some kid or a woman with baby carriers is going to try [to go up the grass] and slip off,” said Filipek. 

"It's extremely dangerous."

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