| Jan 06, 2011

Bridge issues predominate at first meeting of the year

Addington Highlands Public Works Manager Royce Rosenblath presented a report on bridge inspections, prepared by Jewel Engineering, to the first council meeting of the year on January 4 in Flinton.

The report notes that of the 14 structures studied, including bridges and major culverts, one was recommended for immediate closure. The Syman’s Bridge crosses over the Skootamatta River on Concession 5, which is technically a township road, but since there are no residents living on the road, it has not been maintained by the township for many years. The road is mainly used for recreational purposes. The bridge has been closed, and Jewell Engineering has pegged the cost of replacing it at $450,000.

Complicating matters as far as the Syman’s bridge is concerned, is the fact that it is used in the wintertime by snowmobilers, and is part of the north-south route on the snowmobile trail that is run by the Mazinaw chapter of the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC).

Tom Shepherd from the snowmobile club appeared before council concerning the possibility of shoring up the bridge enough for use by snowmobiles in order to keep a trail open between Kaladar and Cloyne this winter.

“Because the bridge has been condemned we would need an engineer’s letter saying it is safe for use by snowmobiles before we allow it to be used,” said Reeve Henry Hogg.

“What if we have the OFSC insurer add the township as a user on that bridge for the snowmobile season alone?” asked Tom Shepherd.

“I'm not so concerned about the insurance as the danger. I don’t want someone to phone me and say they went through the bridge, whether we are insured or not,” said Henry Hogg.

“I think the due diligence is for there to be some comfort that the bridge is sound,” added Councilor Tony Fritsch.

The cost of an engineer’s letter is estimated at $2,000, and Shepherd said that the snowmobile club could put up about $1,000 and use volunteer labour to shore up the bridge if the township could cover the other $1,000 for a letter.

“That is the only trail that allows people to get from Kaladar to Cloyne and Denbigh,” said Deputy Reeve Bill Cox.

Tom Shepherd took down the phone number of the township’s contact at Jewell Engineering. He will talk directly to them about plans to shore up the bridge and have a letter prepared.

If the plan does not work, Shepherd said the local club would have to appeal to the OFSC to pay for a repair to the bridge, but that would not happen this winter.

“In the meantime do you want us to put some closed signs up there?” Shepherd asked.

“You can if you want. We’ve put them up a couple of times and they keep coming down,” said Henry Hogg.

The possibility of rebuilding the Syman’s Bridge will be considered at budget time, but “I don’t think it is something we will do this year” said Henry Hogg.

Two other structures, the Ruttan’s Road Bridge ($450,000) and the Freeburn Road culvert ($175,000) are also slated for closure in one to five years.

The cost of bringing a number of other structures up to provincial standards ranges from $35,000 for the Hartsmere Road bridge to $162,000 for Trepaniers bridge, for a total cost of $420,000.

Rosenblath said he would consider traffic counts, the number of residents served, and other factors in framing some recommendations for budget consideration this spring.

The township recently rebuilt two bridges, the Wager’s bridge and the Flinton bridge at a cost of over $1,000,000 each, but they accessed matching federal and provincial grants for those projects.

“I don’t see any of those kinds of grants coming our way for quite a while,” said Reeve Hogg.

Denbigh waste site opening delayed by red tape

Royce Rosenblath informed council that he received letter from the Ministry of the Environment last week outlining measures the township needs to take before it can re-open the Denbigh waste site.

“We need to do some ditching and put in a clay liner, which are small items, but we also need to do some water testing in the spring and in the fall before we can accept waste at the site. The frustrating thing is that the letter is dated August 5. If it had been sent to us then we could have tested last fall and in the coming spring, and the site would be open this year. As it is it will be another year until we can open it,” Rosenblath said.

Public input sought over use of the Denbigh school house

A public meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 20 to gather input and ideas on the long-term use of the facility and surrounding property at the former Denbigh school house now that Addington Highlands township has taken possession of the property, which is now called the Addington Highlands Community Centre (Denbigh).

The Lakelands Family Health Team will be occupying part of the building for a clinic, but no decisions have yet been made about other uses.

The comments made at the public meeting will form part of the deliberations of a short-term committee, which will meet weekly between January 27 and February 17 before presenting a draft report to council on February 22. That committee will include representative from the township, the AH library Board, the Lakelands Family Health Team, the AH Recreation facilities committee, the Denbigh Rec. Club, and community representatives.

Anyone interested in the process is encouraged to contact the township or just come to the meeting, which will take place at the Denbigh Hall, starting at 7:00 pm.


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