Hope is utilizing the government funding surplus from the new Kawkawa Lake Road Bridge to replace the Suckers Creek Bridge.
The federal and provincial program criteria permits the increased scope because of its proximity to the original project. Only $5 million of the budgeted $10 million was spent on the Kawkawa Lake Road Bridge, which means residual funds can now be allocated to address the needs at Suckers Creek.
“If we hadn’t received this approval it would have meant that money originally intended to fund Hope infrastructure would have been used elsewhere,” said former town manager Earl Rowe, who initially submitted the proposal on behalf of the district.
“This means that a long-awaited repair that has been budgeted in Hope’s financial plan for several years is finally able to be accomplished. We would have had to spend 100 per cent on it and this way we’re getting two-thirds funding.”
The proposal has been approved together with additional pathway funding to better connect Union Bar to Kawkawa Lake Road, and signage/amenities to better utilize the site on the west side of the Kawkawa bridge for tourism.
The Suckers Creek Bridge has been in imminent danger of falling into the water and blocking Thacker Mountain residents access to the community. The bridge has had several repairs over the years using creosote-soaked timbers.
“The major hazard is likely vehicles crossing the bridge and pushing the whole structure into the creek bed,” said Rowe, noting repairs will be done “under traffic” and during the Department of Fisheries window for in-creek work.
“A further challenge in the design will be to ensure that there isn’t any incursion into the creek bed during construction to ensure we maintain the fisheries permit. At this point the only component that seems likely would be the removal of debris from the creek bed.”
The district is currently working on the preliminary design and is expected to tender the project in May. The total estimated cost of the Suckers Creek Bridge replacement is $1.4 million.