Revamp bridge for pedestrians

Trail taxpayers can take on no more

This letter refers to the topic of what to do about/with the Old Bridge (re: the survey sent out by the city about replacing the old bridge with a new one and/or making it a foot bridge.

Both of these choices involve a tax hike which will significantly affect each family’s budget.

Thank goodness for Lana Rodlie’s My Turn column in the March 8 issue of the Times (Stop Studying and Just Fix the Old Bridge)! Her pragmatic and sensible assessment of the whole ‘bridge question’ reflected exactly what I feel.

She mentioned her husband, Dan’s suggestion of making the bridge secure to be used as a foot bridge, doing it in a manner that’s financially acceptable to the taxpayers, AND using it in its re-purposed condition as a tool to encourage visitors to Trail. (My thought: we’d also be reaping the notoriety that accompanies what could be Guinness Book of Records here – the world’s longest suspended pedestrian/bike bridge . . . and that’s an advantage that should be taken.)

I’m involved with Communities in Bloom and through interactions at meetings with Dan Rodlie, I’ve learned that Dan’s brain seldom ‘stays within the box’ if he’s dealing with a challenge. His mind quests and investigates every angle of a situation. When ‘things’ come up (thanks to the Internet) that will affect the world’s perception of our city, that competitive spirit of his kicks into gear. Dan does his homework and if he says we’d have the world’s longest elevated pedestrian-only bridge, I believe it.

Now he has my brain going! Gardens – colourful and beautifully designed, at each end of the bridge. Maybe a ‘destination place’ could await the visitor: a unique/quaint/unusual tea, coffee and desserts place – (exquisite Italian desserts, I’d suggest). Or an information centre/tea, coffee and exquisite pastries. Or a specialty shop.

Think about possibilities! (Oh I wish we could put a new museum around there!) Please, your input is vital and will be appreciated. The more minds, the more imagination, and the wider choice of options.

As Lana says, there’s no need for the amount of money city hall presented for the repairs. All choices of repairs have not been explored.

Many of us seldom use or need that bridge, in either of its possible uses.

But our area needs the money that tourists would spend to come visit our unique bridge – and our covered stairs and the unbelievable rock walls: gift stores, gas stations, hotel/motels, clothing shops, antiques, restaurants offering cuisines from all over the world – they’d all benefit. This could be a big time boost to our area’s economy!

The ball’s in your court. City Hall said it would honour the taxpayers’ wishes — give them this as your choice: a footbridge that’s safe (for more than a decade) but that doesn’t cost the taxpayers an inordinate increase in their taxes for 30 years.

If our mayor and council get enough feedback encouraging them to find a less expensive way to make the bridge useful AND able to act as a driver of extra dollars being spent in our city, I feel certain they’ll accept that challenge and find the solution.

It takes only a minute: if you don’t feel able to word a letter stating this alternative or are too busy to do it, cut out this letter to the editor and mail it to City Hall. Sign it somewhere if you wish – the city needs to know that it’s coming from a taxpayer whose been asked for his/her opinion. If enough of this ‘cut-out-letter’ gets to City Hall, I’m certain that an alternate more affordable solution will be found.

This is our chance to be involved in something that could cripple us as taxpayers – with the side benefit of bringing in tourists to enjoy our culture and the beauty of our city. Win-win!

Annette Gallatin