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Committee campaigning for cyclist-pedestrian bridge across Courtenay River

THE KICKING HORSE River Bridge was built in Golden a decade ago. - Photo submitted
THE KICKING HORSE River Bridge was built in Golden a decade ago.
— image credit: Photo submitted

A delegation of Comox Valley residents appeared before Courtenay council Monday to make the case for a a covered bridge for pedestrians and cyclists from Simms Millennium Park across the river to the base of Sixth Street.
Harry Holland, chair of the Courtenay River People Bridge Steering Committee, was one of four people who spoke in favour of the project.
The bridge proposed by a steering committee would be an architecturally distinctive and highly durable timber-frame structure of contemporary West Coast design. Beyond its function as a link across the river to provide accessibility and safety for walkers, cyclists and those with mobility challenges. The esthetically appealing bridge could play a central role in the revitalization of downtown Courtenay.
Ten years ago, a similar project was undertaken in Golden with the building of the Kicking Horse River Bridge. That bridge is now a tremendous source of pride for the community, and it is also a draw for tourists. The bridge has been widely credited with bringing new life to the downtown core.
“It was an amazing way to bring the community together, and has become a very popular attraction in town,” says Cathy Williams, project manager of the bridge in Golden. “Since building it, we have made the area on the downtown side of the bridge into our Spirit Square, and it has sparked our initiative to start turning downtown towards the river instead of turning our backs on it.”
“Just standing on the bridge, seeing it very much used, and observing all the people coming off the highway to see ‘our bridge’ gives me a great feeling,” says Christoph Loesch, also of Golden. “It has pulled our community together in ways many people could not have imagined.”
As in Golden, the covered bridge being proposed for Courtenay would be built under the supervision and mentorship of the Timber Framers Guild. This international artisans’ guild would bring about 100 volunteer craftsmen to town for three weeks to complete timber framing of the bridge.
When similar projects have taken place in other locations around North America, the construction has created a vibrant summer event, and the bridge has become a focal point for the community right from the start.
The bridge being proposed for Courtenay would also provide the missing link to connect Lewis Park, the Courtenay Recreation Centre and Simms Millennium Park, to the Courtenay River Walkway from Millard Nature Park and around the Airpark.
For more information visit: www.cvbridgeproject.com or e-mail cvbridgeproject@gmail.com.
See Friday's comox Valley Record for more.
— Courtenay River People Bridge Steering Committee

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