Anyone with a Facebook account likely noticed that over the Christmas holidays, a lot of visitors made a point of walking over the Columbia River Skywalk. Even the unusually cold temperatures didn’t keep them away – accompanying all those smiling faces on social media were striking photos and videos taken during those inaugural journeys.
“The comments about the Skywalk have been very positive and there is still as sense of excitement for the new structure,” says the city’s Andrea Jolly.
“There have been several photos posted to social media with families and friends walking across and enjoying the bridge. We have also read comments that describe the bridge as ‘breathtaking,’ ‘spectacular’ and ‘majestic’ and ‘way better than I had ever imagined.’” she added.
“I think the bridge imparts a sense of pride for the community. It’s just the beginning of many great things to come.”
However, with the steady stream of foot traffic comes the inevitable side effect of a popular draw – bits of litter and dog excrement.
With the rapid snow melt this week, the city is on top of the matter and will soon be installing doggy-bag dispensers and garbage cans. And, the city is ready to proceed with Phase 2 of the Skywalk’s landscaping project.
“The pedestrian bridge landscaping on both sides of the bridge will be going out to tender in the next few weeks, in anticipation to complete the landscaping before Silver City Days in May,” Jolly said.
“Amenities will include trash bins, benches, way-finding kiosks … along with decorative sidewalks , trees, flowers and grass.”
Skywalk soft launch in December
Another question directed toward the city concerns the flashing light, located mid-bridge.
The light is actually a navigational beacon, and it was a “must do.”
“Although not ‘super pretty,’ it was installed per the regulations outlined by Transport Canada for boating safety,” Jolly explained, noting the beacon can be seen for two nautical miles (3.704 km).
“When the water is high, particularly in the spring, the stay cables/wind cables that are located near the shore could become a boating obstruction,” she said. “The beacon will guide boaters through the safest passage route. Shrouds were also installed to block the beacon from any surrounding residences in proximity to the bridge.”
Regarding the utilitarian aspect of the Skywalk, it holds the new regional sewer line, Jolly said the sewer pipe is in place and functioning. The old pipe on the Old Trail Bridge will be removed some time in the future.
The Skywalk became the centre of discussion again this week when Trail council agreed to give a nod to Italian custom with an official launch or “An Evening Passeggiata” to kick off Silver City Days.
The event is tentatively scheduled for May 11 from 7-9:30 p.m., and will include cake and refreshments, a finish location in downtown and several “visiting” stations between.
“Hosting a station is an excellent community-engagement opportunity for local groups and organizations to provide entertainment, interactive activities, informational displays, free samples, door prizes, refreshments and treats,” Jolly said. “We welcome the stations to be a carnival theme to align with Silver City Days, a “Little Italy” theme to align with the Passeggiata concept, or a health and wellness theme to tie into the celebration of the walking bridge.”
Pronounced “pas eh jata,” meaning a gentle walk in the evening, la passeggiata is an enduring tradition of Italian life. At dusk, neighbours stroll through the main streets, maybe sit on a bench or nurse a glass of wine at an outdoor bar, and watch for things to gossip about. Folks of all ages take part in the passeggiata, from the youngest babies being pushed in their strollers to the oldest members of the community who take it all in from the sidelines.
Jolly is currently recruiting people for a committee to help brainstorm, plan and organize the event.
“If you are not interested in sitting on the committee, but would like to participate by hosting a station, please let me know what your ideas are so the committee can try to work them into the plan.”
Interested parties are encouraged to contact Jolly at 250.364.0834 or by emailing email@example.com.