-0.1 C
Friday, November 15, 2019
Connecting Our Communities

Winterbourne residents petition council to save Peel St. bridge


Restored Victorian home in Elmira the subject of TV competition

Along with the influx of visitors that comes with the holiday season, Elmira will see one new...

End of an era for MP

Two weeks having passed since the federal election, Harold Albrecht has had time to reflect on his...

Candidates make pitch to voters in Woolwich

Largely sticking to their respective party lines, the five candidates running in the Kitchener-Conestoga riding made their one all-candidates...

Meet the candidates

By Veronica Reiner & Aneta Rebiszewski Five candidates are vying for your vote in...


overcast clouds
-0.1 ° C
2 °
-2.2 °
93 %
90 %
2 °
-0 °
1 °
2 °
-0 °

Winterbourne residents are pushing to have the Peel Street bridge retained for pedestrian traffic at a minimum, this week presenting a petition to Woolwich council calling for a more fulsome review of the options.

A report commissioned by the township recommends the permanent closure of the century-old steel-truss span, though a formal report from planning staff isn’t expected until the fall. Even the suggestion of decommissioning the bridge doesn’t sit well with residents, however.

Council chambers were packed with residents eager to hear about the fate of the bridge, as well as a later discussion about a gravel pit proposed for a Peel Street property.

Winterbourne’s Ron Craig addressed the issues raised by the petition signed by more than 175 residents.

“It’s a  petition signed by almost every adult in the village,” he noted.

He called for more analysis of options for the bridge, as well as more consultation with the Old Order Mennonite community. In a presentation to council, he made a case for keeping the bridge open, if only for recreational use, pointing out that Winterbourne is a low-cost community when it comes to the township given the lack of facilities and services.

The historical value of the bridge and the prospect of a cultural heritage landscape designation for the bridge and the surrounding Winterbourne valley should also be taken into account, Craig suggested, calling for “longer-term thinking.”

Coun. Murray Martin took issue with claims the Old Order Mennonite community had not been consulted, noting he twice circulated some 100 comment sheets in the community. The group was also well represented at a public meeting.

He noted that members of the community asked to “keep the process respectful,” adding they told him “we will speak for ourselves.”

Martin’s comments were echoed by Dan Kennaley, the township’s director of engineering and planning services. He, too, noted there has been extensive consultation, including holding two public meetings instead of just one, as required.

Likewise, there have been many groups involved in the process, he added.

Still, low traffic volumes on the bridge prior to its closure – about 125 vehicles per day, with 11 per cent of that attributed to horse-drawn buggies – and the cost of rehabilitation are factors at play, Kennaley noted.

Outside of permanent closure, options include some kind of pedestrian use, he said, pointing to a conversion project in Guelph as an example.

“We’re looking at doing something similar with the Peel Street bridge.”

In response to Coun. Scott McMillan’s question about the possibility of Old Order Mennonites helping to repair the bridge, as was the case in 2001, Kennaley noted there are legal issues and liabilities to consider. Unlike past work on the deck, the problem areas are the steel trusses and girders that form the underpinning of the bridge.

“It’s unlikely that local help will be … sufficient.”

As for costs, the pedestrian option alone would run $750,000 to $1.2 million, he said. “It’s a substantial amount of money.”

Kennaley noted that rehabilitating the bridge for pedestrian use would not allow for buggy traffic; the cost of bringing it up to that standard would be almost as much as restoring it for vehicle use, which was estimated at up to $1.6 million.

A cost breakdown in the study, completed as part of an environmental assessment, paints an expensive picture of reopening the bridge. In the case of either vehicular or just pedestrian traffic, both of which come with an immediate expense, upwards of another million of today’s dollars would have to be spent in 2040, followed by $700,000 to demolish the bridge when it comes to the end of its lifespan in 2050.

Replacing the bridge with a new one comes with a projected cost of $5.5 million.

Simply closing the bridge and leaving it in place would cost $475,000, with another $150,000 by 2040 and the demolition costs in 2050. Keeping the bridge maintains its heritage qualities and leaves future administrations with options down the line.

Along with the Peel Street bridge, the township is looking at old steel-truss bridges on Middlebrook Road and Glasgow Street, with preliminary reports recommending closure of the former and rehabilitating the latter, which sees the highest volume of traffic.

Kennaley said he expects a report on each of the three steel truss bridges to come this year, staring with the Glasgow Street structure in June and the other two in the fall.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to The Observer's online community. Pseudonyms are not permitted. By submitting a comment, you accept that The Observer has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner The Observer chooses. Please note that The Observer does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our submission guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.


New watering system is powered by the sun

Many hands may make light work, but automating the process really lessens the load. That’s especially helpful when the work involves relying on volunteers to provide the manual labour.

In Print. Online. In Pictures. In Depth.

You obviously love community journalism. Thanks for visiting today. If you have a great local story, let us know.

Woolwich adopts new landscape guidelines for subdivisions as part of greening initiatives

Talk of trees right now typically involved the adjective Christmas, but Woolwich council is focusing just now on guidelines for planting in new...

Wellesley rec. complex project moves into fundraising mode

Wellesley Township having cleared the way for a potential new $22-million recreation complex, the focus is now on putting together a fundraising campaign...

Junior girls’ capture EDSS’ first WCSSAA basketball title

In a season that already saw the team rack up win after win, the EDSS junior girls’ basketball team reached new heights...

Woolwich stays course with economic development

Woolwich’s vacant economic development and tourism officer (EDTO) position will be retained, councillors decided this week despite any numbers or measures to show...

Sugar Kings turn the screws on Brampton

Another home-and-home winning weekend helped the Elmira Sugar Kings solidify their hold on top spot in the GOJHL’s Midwestern Conference. A pair of...

EDSS looks to make use of new push for skilled-trades training

With measures taken on the provincial level to encourage high school students to enter the skilled trades, EDSS is in the process...
- Advertisement -