It’s the last call for solid proposals to save, at least, some portion of the Kawkawa Lake Bridge for touring Rambo fans.
The bridge and other local First Blood filming locations attract up to 900 visitors each year, according to statistics gathered by the Hope Visitor Centre.
But despite its community significance, the federal fisheries permit, granting the construction of the new bridge over the Coquihalla River, included requirement that the District of Hope would remove the aging wood trestle bridge. The bridge is considered at risk in a major flooding event and could damage the fishery due to high creosote levels in the wood.
With the new bridge open for traffic, and the bridge approaches close to completion, town manager Earl Rowe asked council to rescind part of their September 21, 2009 motion to have the bridge relocated to another site.
With relocation comes continued liability for the district, warned Rowe.
The bridge construction contract with Neelco Construction contains a $118,000 clause for permanent removal of the bridge. The company is expected to use the wood in construction sites where creosote contamination is not a concern. Until needed the creosote-soaked timbers will be stored by the company in Chilliwack, at no further liability to the District of Hope.
In order to begin the removal planning process the company asked that council clarify their position on saving the bridge for future display.
The rescinding of the phrase to relocate the bridge, “lets the company move forward with planning to disassemble the structure,” said Mayor Laurie French, but there is still time for the pubic to suggest a solid proposal to save some portion of the structure for display. “If people want to do something they have to come with a plan, and how to finance it.”
The bridge is not expected to be removed until the end of the summer.
Facebook pages and YouTube videos galore failed to save the bridge, but a small dedicated committee, headed up by Brian McKinney and Inge Wilson, continues to lobby for some portion of the bridge to be saved.
“We totally appreciate the liability,” said McKinney, but it would be a “shame to see that (entire) structure dismantled, thrown on the back of a flat deck and wheeled westward.”
But keeping a full size display, where the public can come in contact with the creosote beams, remains liability, noted Rowe.
Possible other suggestions included saving one of the timbers, perhaps under glass, or using the wood to creatively frame keepsake photos of the old Howe Truss structure.
But wether or not a display ever becomes a reality, the Rambo Bridge committee is planning to get the most out of the last chance for visitors to have their picture taken in the exact spot where Sylvester Stallone once stood.
A farewell party is in the making, and planning meetings start at the end of April. Anyone interested in helping plan the party can contact Inge Wilson, manager of the Hope Visitor Centre, at 604-869-2021.