Dreaming about the Bridge of Dreams for pedestrian crossing in Smiths Falls

Bridge of Dreams, Princeton, BC.
Bridge of Dreams, Princeton, BC. Photo credit: Included in Director McMunn’s report on Jan 15 2023.
Posted on: January 16, 2024

During Monday evening’s Committee of the Whole meeting in Smiths Falls, council received an update from Director of Public Works and Utilities Paul McMunn regarding the design for the proposed Confederation Bridge. In December, McMunn had presented proposed pre-fabricated designs which had left council looking for more. 

“We know it’s going to be a pedestrian bridge, a single-span,” McMunn said on Monday night, presenting a range of potential bridge designs compiled by TSI Incorporated Engineering, who are in charge of the project. “The bridge they thought we might be interested in, as did I, was this bridge with a roof on it, the Bridge of Dreams in Princeton, British Columbia.”

This bridge, McMunn noted, has created a tourist destination. “This is something we could do in Smiths Falls for the river crossing. This was built in 2010 for $1 million. What that number looks like in today’s dollars with inflation, I’m not sure. 

We have $1.2 million left in our budget for our bridge.”

Mayor Pankow was pleased with the way this bridge fit into council’s vision for the bridge. “We had a collective vision of an experience, a place to enjoy the water, something that would attract the community to come and enjoy. 

If this bridge is going to be in our community for the next 100 years, I’d prefer we take extra time to consider it further.”

Councilor Chris McGuire voiced his opinion in favour of a long-lasting good-quality bridge.  TSI made it clear that the prefab option doesn’t meet the design criteria, and while it might be cheaper in the long term, it has a much shorter lifespan; in 40 or 50 years we’d be replacing it again, he said. “I think it’s important that whatever design we choose … can be rehabilitated and maintained, a sustainable asset, not just a disposable asset.”

Councilor Dawn Quinn expressed her delight in the proposed design. “Wow! This is excellent. Let’s explore this, let’s see what it takes to maintain it; I think something like this is what we need here in Smiths Falls, that wow factor.”

Councilor Jennifer Miller agreed. “This is the first design I’ve seen that makes me feel like we can really do this in a memorable way. I support getting some more information on this design. I’m really eager to get this going; hopefully we can keep that in mind. This has been an eyesore in our community for a long time; it would be nice to see some progress on this.”

Councilor Stephen Robinson expressed some hesitation about the amount of wood in the bridge. “Wood and weather don’t get along. My concern would be the cost of maintenance to make sure the wood structure stays intact, and how often we’d have to replace portions of it.”

Council directed McMunn to inquire into the bridge’s durability, cost, and the feasibility of having it built by local companies.

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News

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