Middlebrook Bridge outside Elora is slated for demolision, something some residents are opposed to. Isabel Buckmaster, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

One group of concerned citizens is hopeful that with a freshly-elected council may come a new chance to save the Middlebrook Bridge.

During a presentation to Centre Wellington council Monday evening, members of Save Middlebrook Bridge, Stephanie Lines-Toohill and Mark Walker, explained that the municipal election in October 2022 sparked hope that the previous council’s decision to remove the bridge with no replacement could be reconsidered.

“This is not just an old bridge to be removed from a docket,” said Lines-Toohill, during her delegation. “It’s an old welcoming friend that needs our care.”

The presentation asked that council vote to “make a legacy decision to support safe and accessible connectivity to our rural landscape.”

“Other than considering and looking at what we consider a small cost, we just want to very much to reinforce the importance of the bridge to this community,” said Walker. “It’s a legacy to maintain and retain for generations to come.”

If council maintains the decision to remove without replacement, the group asks that the council hold a public meeting for “meaningful public engagement.”

“It’s not only a bridge that connects us to our local history, (but) it’s also a special crossing over a beautiful bend in the Grand River where wildlife and trails flourish,” said Lines-Toohill, in a previous interview. “I’m not giving up because it’s a really, really special place and if anyone has a chance to visit they will understand why.”

In February 2022, the previous council voted 4-2 to remove the bridge without replacement after “a lengthy deliberation.”

“We’re not giving up. If we don’t get provincial funding, we’re also thinking of setting up a community fundraising event so we can allocate enough money,” said Walker, in a previous interview. “Removing it is not an option for us.”

The bridge has been closed to vehicular traffic since 2013, and in March 2021 was barricaded to pedestrians.

“It’s an eyesore – I don’t know who tried to open that door but kudos to them,” said Coun. Lisa MacDonald, during the meeting.“To me, from a community safety perspective, it looks like a bit of a community hazard.”

However she, alongside Coun. Barbara Lustgarten-Evoy and Coun. Jennifer Adams, was open to exploring fundraising or grant options at a future meeting.

“I would really like to know what happened last time,” said Lustgarten-Evoy. “I would like to get more details about how the decision was made and why it ended how it did.”

The motion to reconsider will be explored before it moves forward for debated at a later meeting.

By Isabel Buckmaster, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on May 30, 2023 at 06:50

This item reprinted with permission from   GuelphToday.com   Guelph, Ontario
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