December opening date target for repaired bridge
the provincial government has turned down Bruce county’s application for disaster relief funding for chesley's main Street bridge.
director of corporate services Bettanne cobean told county council nov. 1 that provincial officials informed the county verbally of the decision, saying that eligible costs do not meet the threshold to trigger disaster relief.
of the estimated $3 million replacement cost following flooding last February, the province determined only approximately $858,000 was eligible, well short of the $1.29 million required under the disaster relief formula.
cobean said there’s been no explanation on how the formula was calculated, but she suspects the fact the bridge was 96 years old was a key factor.
cobean said county officials are arranging a conference call with their provincial counterparts to get a more information about how disaster relief calculations are made.
cobean said the county would pay for the bridge internally. in the meantime, an application has been made to the ontario community infrastructure Fund (oSiF) for approximately $690,000 in funding.
Warden Paul Eagleson said he was disappointed, but not surprised, considering the age of the bridge, which was scheduled for repair in a couple of years.
“yeah it went out on an emergency, but yet, we should’ve been saving money to replace it, so it doesn’t shock me that we didn’t receive that emergency funding. it’s unfortunate,” Eagleson said.
director of transportation and environment Services miguel Pelletier said the bridge is still on target to open some time in december.
“now that doesn’t mean all of the work will be done, we might have to do some work in the spring,” Pelletier said. “our target is to open the bridge and make sure it’s open so the people don’t have to use the detour over the winter.”