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Public input sought in restoration of Peel Street bridge

Looking to finalize the design to convert the Peel Street bridge for pedestrian use, Woolwich wants feedback by month’s end via its virtual public consultation centre. Comments will help determine what the reworked structure looks like.

The two-span steel truss bridge, built in 1913, has been closed for the past four years due to safety concerns. Township council ultimately decided to repair the span for pedestrian and cyclists. Now, Woolwich has posted on its website a variety of design options – user pathways, decking materials and railings, for instance – for public review.

“We’ve got the public consultation centre up on the township’s website, which includes a voiceover of the slides, comment sheets; the  renderings are on there, if you want to see some concepts. We are looking for residents’ feedback by the end of November, and then the project team will be looking to finalize the design and put it out for another public consultation centre,” explained engineering project supervisor Ryan Tucker.

“We’re just waiting for more public feedback before we kind of cement the design concept and move forward with the detailed design.”

Winterbourne resident Kim Hodgson, who’s been a vocal advocate for rehabilitating the bridge, said she expects many in the community will take part, eager to see the structure reopen. She praised the online presentation prepared by the township.

“I’m assuming that lots of people will take the time to make their opinions known. I thought they (the township) did a really great job – credit where credit’s due, they did a really good job of not only describing it, they had an online presentation and video showing what things could potentially look like. I thought that was really great in terms of helping people to understand where they can have some input and to make it really easy for people,” she said.

There’s been plenty of chatter on an online “friends of Winterbourne” group, she added.

“We’re really encouraging everybody who uses that bridge, whether they’re people within the neighbourhood or other people who access it – I know a lot of the cycling groups from Kitchener and some in Guelph used to use the bridge as a means to get around – to give their ideas. I’m sure there’s going to be a really great response from our community residents.”

Tucker noted the public feedback will help narrow down the list of design options.

“We’re going to take back all the feedback we get from the residents, we’ll meet as a project team and finalize the design concept, because right now we have three potential options for a deck orientation,” he said. “We also talked about different railings, different decks, so we want to see what the public really wants out there. Once we get a good sense of that, the project team will finalize a design concept, and we’ll go out for a public consultation centre for a second time.

“We’re hoping to do that early in the new year, probably January, February,” said Tucker, noting the goal is to then move onto construction.

“We are including it in the 2022 capital budget. We’ll see council, how they deliberate and debate that, but we are looking to construct this next year pending council budget approval.”

The online presentation can be found on the township’s website.

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