The 5th Street Bridge will be repaired next year. File photo

The 5th Street Bridge will be repaired next year. File photo

Former Courtenay councillor suggests waiting a year to repair bridge

In the opinion of a former member of Courtenay council, a year’s postponement of the 5th Street Bridge rehabilitation project would be a good idea.

Erik Eriksson suggests that some downtown businesses — already impact by the coronavirus pandemic — may not recover when the bridge closes for six months next summer.

“This would be very bad for our downtown, which is the heart of our community,” Eriksson said in an Oct. 19 presentation to council. “You need a flourishing downtown.”

He said postponing the project for another year could allow time to forge partnerships and spread the cost with the rest of the Comox Valley, and afford a chance to better explore the cost benefit of a new bridge.

“With all the talk of senior governments promoting infrastructure development as a COVID economic recovery plan, there might be a possibility of accessing funding.”

Eriksson also suggests a mailed Elector Response Form — as opposed to the Alternative Approval Process — would garner a fair representation of the opinion of Courtenay electors to authorize a borrowing bylaw.

READ: Courtenay launches AAP for Fifth Street Bridge rehabilitation

He argues that voters may not know the AAP process is happening.

He said residents might be opposed to the authorization for a number of reasons:

1. They might want to support protecting the downtown by causing a postponement of the project;

2. They might not think it is fair that only Courtenay taxpayers have to pay for the bridge;

3. They might think it is a better idea to replace the bridge entirely.

Mayor Bob Wells said council faces some “massive challenges” if the project is further delayed. He also notes the City has received extensions on grant funding — which would be lost if the project were postponed or cancelled.

“We’ve been told there is no further funding for this, because we’ve already been approved,” Wells said, noting costs continue to rise the longer the project is delayed. “I think the time for delay, unfortunately, is not now.”

He said it’s time to either repair or replace the bridge — and the City does not have the funds for the latter option.

Coun. Doug Hillian noted that the bridge will not be closed but will have a single lane open during construction.

The Fifth Street Bridge was constructed in 1960. The last significant investment in the bridge, including seismic upgrading, was in 2012.

READ: Rehabilitation of Courtenay bridge on track to begin next spring

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Comox and the school district are looking at formalizing a piece of school property for a dog park. Black Press file photo
School District 71, Comox work on formal dog park agreement

The site on unused school district property is already being used by dog owners

Lake Trail Middle school in Courtenay. File photo
Lake Trail Middle School closed due to threat

The credibility of the threat is being assessed and the investigation is being completed

The 19th annual Gingerbread Village & Teddy Bear Baskets Silent Auction runs online from Dec. 1-18. Photo supplied
Crown Isle’s annual Gingerbread Village & Teddy Bear Baskets Silent Auction goes online for 2020

Crown Isle Resort and Golf Community hosts the 19th annual Gingerbread Village… Continue reading

Two of the weapons seized in a Nov. 8 traffic stop in Black Creek. Photo supplied by RCMP
RCMP seize guns, drugs in Black Creek traffic stop

Two arrested in connection with incident

Canadian Tire Courtenay’s Owner Bert Heeringa and General Manager Keith Pistell displaying the donated sanitizer. Photo supplied.
Courtenay Canadian Tire donates 2,400 litres of hand sanitizer to local not-for-profits

Organizations can request sanitizer via the Comox Valley Community Foundation

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The corporate headquarters of Pfizer Canada are seen in Montreal, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. The chief medical adviser at Health Canada says Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be approved in Canada next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Health Canada expects first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved next month

Canada has a purchase deal to buy at least 20 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine,

Port McNeill councillor Derek Koel busts a rap to help promote the town’s active transportation plan. (Facebook video screenshot)
VIDEO: Vancouver Island councillor makes rap video to promote active transportation plan

Active transportation is a personal matter for councillor Derek Koel.

FILE – A paramedic holds a test tube containing a blood sample during an antibody testing program at the Hollymore Ambulance Hub, in Birmingham, England, on Friday, June 5, 2020. (Simon Dawson/Pool via AP)
Want to know if you’ve had COVID-19? LifeLabs is offering an antibody test

Test costs $75 and is available in B.C. and Ontario

The grey region of this chart shows the growth of untraced infection, due to lack of information on potential sources. With added staff and reorganization, the gap is stabilized, Dr. Bonnie Henry says. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 tracing to keep up with surging cases

People now notified of test results by text message

People wear face masks as they pose next to a Christmas display in Montreal, Sunday, November 22, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
How to tell family their Christmas gathering is too risky and you’re not going

Dr. Hurst says it’s best to frame the conversation from a place of care, stressing safety precautions.

Most Read