Men­non­ite com­mu­nity given no con­sid­er­a­tion in bridge clo­sure re­port

The Woolwich Observer - - COMMENT - PAUL MAR­ROW | WINTERBOURNE

Your re­solve: be more en­gaged in your com­mu­nity. A res­o­lu­tion you can keep with help from us.

To the Edi­tor, I WAS DIS­AP­POINTED IN the ed­i­to­rial and ar­ti­cle re­gard­ing the Peel Street bridge in Winterbourne (Ob­server, Dec. 27/18). In the ed­i­to­rial you sac­ri­ficed the bridge on the al­tar of eco­nomics and dis­missed the his­toric and aes­thetic as­pects of the struc­ture. Un­for­tu­nately you seem to have ig­nored a very sig­nif­i­cant fac­tor in the func­tion­al­ity of this bridge. You have made the same er­ror of omis­sion as coun­cil and the con­sult­ing en­gi­neers did and made no at­tempt to ex­am­ine the im­por­tance of this bridge to our lo­cal Men­non­ite com­mu­nity.

Wool­wich “makes a lot of hay” from its Men­non­ite com­mu­ni­ties. They are the main draw of the farm­ers’ mar­ket. They drive a large part of the economies of Elmira and St. Ja­cobs. They bring mil­lions of dol­lars an­nu­ally to Wool­wich in tourism dol­lars. Their farms and busi­nesses drive a good pro­por­tion of the en­tire town­ship. Yet de­spite all this, the Men­non­ite com­mu­nity has been vir­tu­ally for­got­ten in the dis­cus­sion around the fate of the bridge.

Con­sider the fol­low­ing points aris­ing from the lat­est pre­sen­ta­tion by the con­sult­ing en­gi­neers on the bridge’s fate: • No data col­lected as far as my research has un­cov­ered re­gard­ing buggy and bi­cy­cle use of the bridge; • Al­ter­nate routes ca­su­ally thrown out that might make a 10-minute dif­fer­ence in a car but make be­tween 70 and 80 min­utes for ev­ery round trip in a buggy; • No ac­com­mo­da­tion made in the con­sul­ta­tion to al­low in­put from the Men­non­ite com­mu­nity. Vir­tu­ally all of the ma­te­rial is avail­able only on­line and only the sec­ond pub­lic meet­ing at which the “pre­ferred op­tion” was pre­sented was held lo­cally; • In the eval­u­a­tion ta­ble gen­er­ated by the con­sult­ing en­gi­neers un­der the ma­jor head­ings of so­cial and cul­tural ef­fects there is zero men­tion of the Men­non­ite pop­u­la­tion, de­spite the fact that the sig­nif­i­cance of abo­rig­i­nal ar­ti­facts was con­sid­ered; From the ap­pear­ance of the pre­sen­ta­tion ma­te­ri­als, the con­sult­ing en­gi­neers, were never in­structed by Wool­wich Town­ship to give any con­sid­er­a­tion to the Men­non­ite com­mu­nity.

If my anal­y­sis of this process is at all ac­cu­rate then this en­tire ex­er­cise has been a sham, care­fully or­ches­trated to pro­duce an out­come that is based solely on dol­lars and a slap in the face of my Men­non­ite neigh­bours.

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