Domine Quo Vadis? in the Latin language translates as “where are you going?” That’s what I have been seriously wondering about as our council leads us down the path to witness the destruction of our wooden bridge. I know that when you saw the presentation put on by city staff depicting the new causeway, roundabouts and the artist’s portrayal you were duly impressed and thought, ‘well, they say it is probably time to get rid of that bridge.’ But that futuristic plan was to cost over $15 million and would have also contained two huge culverts so that boats and a large lake flow could pass under it. Then the price was pared down to $9 million, now the price is down to $4.8 million—so you see we are getting the rock bottom causeway (NOT A BRIDGE) with no bells and whistles. Here is what is disturbing me. I hope I am not the only one, but I see that wooden bridge as an asset to the community, not something to be replaced by loads of stone and mud. We have there the very hook that we have searched for to bring in tourists to our community and just because the council has no vision and because apparently the community itself has been misled into thinking they are getting something they are not going to get, we are going to sacrifice a real asset that we own today! My take on that bridge is we should keep it, or as much as the engineers say is in good shape (and that is at least three-quarters of it) and use it in the future exactly as Cancer Care is using it for the big Bridge Party this June. The wave of approval and desire to dine and have a cocktail on the bridge shows that the community sees the reuse of the bridge to be an exciting feature here. And that could be just the beginning! We could have art shows, musical performances, beer gardens with entertainment, etc. etc. The sky is the limit because the bridge is our trademark, a unique and charming venue for any number of community expositions. Our lake and island are designated as the factors that make us a “Star Attraction” in Manitoba! Then should we not be enhancing our allure and creating a beautiful attraction of our rare wooden bridge? Can a mud causeway be beautiful?
I think this council will be remembered from the tracks that they will leave behind. So here is my question: Why has council not shown us what we are actually getting for our money? What will the new causeway look like! You realize, of course, if the new causeway design does not include adequate culvert space to allow water movement, we are damning the chance to ever get the Wardrop and Associates plan to run water from the high elevation of the diversion through Crescent Lake and thus change the complete lake water twice a day.
What would be the result of that change? We would bring our decades-old problem of algae to an end. That algae need $50,000 worth of poisonous chemicals a year to make a mere stab at controlling it. We would set the “renewed” lake up for development of water sports, fishing, boating, sailing and yes, even swimming! (city hall still has our old plans for a swimming experience in freshened water near the Jet!)
Councillor Melissa Draycott says “There is no interest in keeping a section of the old bridge” and “the bridge is not in good condition!”(I say its in fine condition for community events or for bike traffic!) Lets see the current report on the bridge. Why has this new causeway cost been approved unanimously by council without any community discussion? Mrs. Draycott, you are calling this project “a new bridge”. It is not that at all but it is installing another mud causeway and dividing the lake into two. The fact is we have a terrible lack of transparency in our government here. It is the factor that allows the citizenry to be led anywhere that the council wishes. Dear ‘sheepie’ folks, have we really concluded as a community that having a rare wooden bridge over our Crescent Lake is NOT an asset to us? Well, we have forever to regret the destruction of the very star attraction that could have helped our community and made it a fun place to live.
I think the time is now to contact your council member and request solid information as to what the proposed new causeway will be. The future of water quality in Crescent Lake is at stake!
Don Pelechaty, Portage la Prairie.