Artistry and photo courtesy Paul Miller.
THE DEMOLITION OF OLD SPENCES BRIDGE
IS NOW COMPLETE.
VIEW DEMOLITION SLIDESHOW HERE.
CBC Daybreak Radio Coverage of Final Demolition Here.
CFJC Video coverage of demolition here.
Communicate your thoughts to demolition decision-maker Minister Todd Stone via Twitter: @toddstonebc
Include #oldspencesbridge in your tweet!
Email the Minister directly: Minister.Transportation@gov.bc.ca
BC On the Move: A Ten Year Transportation Plan
RECEIVED OCTOBER 9, 2014: RESPONSE FROM MINISTER TODD STONE TO MY JULY 26, 2014 EMAIL ( see below) REGARDING OLD SPENCES BRIDGE
Thank you for your e-mail of July 26, 2014, further to my response to you of March 27, 2014, regarding plans for Old Spences Bridge.
Although I recognize that you strongly support the repurposing of this structure, the ministry’s position on this matter has not changed. The old bridge carried fewer than 200 vehicles per day and would require over $15 million to replace. Even repurposing it on a smaller scale for use by pedestrians or light traffic, as you have suggested, would require millions of dollars, with no guarantee it would last even 10 more years.
Safety remains the ministry’s highest priority, which is why we are focussing available funding on other safety improvements, based on community feedback received from local residents last spring. These include the resurfacing of approximately 3.5 kilometres of Highway 8 from the Curnow Bridge to the intersection of Highway 1 and Highway 8, with improved shoulders for pedestrians and cyclists and construction of a pedestrian pathway on Highway 1, linking the north and south sides of Spences Bridge.
Should you wish to discuss this matter further, the ministry’s local District Manager, Paula Cousins remains happy to assist you and can be reached by telephone at 250 371-3805 or by e-mail at Paula.Cousins@gov.bc.ca.
Thank you again for taking the time to write.
Todd G. Stone
Copy to: Paula Cousins, District Manager
Thompson Nicola District
JULY 26, 2014 EMAIL SENT TO BC TRANSPORTATION MINISTER TODD STONE RE DEMOLITION OF OLD SPENCES BRIDGE
Dear Minister Stone,
Thank you for your email of 2014-03-27 in response to my request to repurpose Old Spences Bridge for pedestrian/cyclist use. In your email, you indicated that the Ministry is not in a position to continue to invest funds into Old Spences Bridge because of "low traffic volume on the bridge and the presence of an alternative crossing nearby." You also indicated that a repurposing of the bridge, to accommodate various cultural events as per my suggestion, would require investing millions of dollars. I am not sure what you had in mind regarding such a repurposing but I believe it is on a much larger scale than what I have in mind, the facilitation of which would simply require access to a few hundred square feet of surface area on the bridge for the purpose of gathering people together in a low-tech way in the magnificent scenic context that the bridge facilitates. A simple, repurposed, pedestrian-friendly bridge would meet the needs I seek to fulfill.
Unfortunately, it appears to me from your response that you are not willing to entertain the possibility of repurposing the bridge at all, even to facilitate basic pedestrian traffic. This is an option much desired by hundreds of people who share a concern for the welfare of our little village. Most people I have talked to find it inconceivable that the Ministry is willing to devote large sums of money to demolish the bridge entirely, especially since the engineering reports cited by the Ministry do not condemn the bridge at all. Many are also aware that there are other bridges in BC that are still open to pedestrian traffic and yet, are ranked lower than Old Spences Bridge in terms of safety. Article link.
As you are probably already aware, hundreds of us are calling for a halt to the demolition process. What we would like to see in its place is a sincere investigation of a creative, pedestrian crossing that facilitates a healthy and safe alternative to the Trans Canada highway bridge and which clearly takes into account both the inherent heritage value of the old bridge and also its "million dollar view", an obvious but unacknowledged tourism benefit to the community.
Perhaps you are unaware of the actual nature of the "on the ground" detour already being forced upon our community through the erection of steel fencing at each end of Old Spences Bridge. This fencing, erected January 1, bars all access to the bridge and is said by the Ministry to have been put into place for public safety reasons. In fact, pedestrians were forced, in the middle of winter, to take a detour that continues to this day to put them in much more dangerous circumstances than crossing a rusty old bridge that was open for automobile traffic the day previous. Although it only tells part of the story, the following video link documents just a portion of what this detour is like for those of us on foot: video link.
The following video links are in chronological order and document the reactions of local and regional residents to the demolition scenario currently in place. All are in opposition to such a scenario, as are the hundreds of people who have signed our online petition and our hard copy petition calling for you to halt the demolition process and to instead, seriously explore the alternative of imaginatively repurposing the bridge for pedestrian use. I urge you to take this call seriously.
Ray Nigalis-owner/operator of the Inn at Spences Bridge
Daryl Minnabarriet - First Nations Elder and resident of Spences Bridge
Local and regional supporters of the imaginative repurposing of Old Spences Bridge share their hearts and ideas at a Summer Solstice Rally held at the Old Bridge.
Spences Bridge resident Hank Klynsoon responds to immanent closure of Old Spences Bridge.
Ministry Sounds Death Knell for Old Spences Bridge. Public meeting.
Spences Bridge Residents Protest Closure of Old Spences Bridge
Dwayne Edward Rourke
OLD SPENCES BRIDGE
Vancouver Sun article: Most B.C. bridges get passing grade from province The only bridge in the very poor category is the Nautley River Bridge in northern B.C. near Fraser Lake. Vehicles were diverted to a replacement bridge in 2006, but the old structure — with “use at your own risk” warning signs — remains available for pedestrians.
The BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure closed Old Spences Bridge on January 1, 2014 and intends to dismantle it completely. As documented in the following video, local residents came out on New Year’s Day in protest of this decision. A day later, access to the bridge was completely eliminated by the Ministry with the addition of a chain link fence at both ends. Paula Cousins, District Manager, Transportation Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure made the decision to install the fence citing possible catastrophic collapse of the bridge as the key issue.
An online PDF of the engineer’s report upon which the decision to demolish Old Spences Bridge was made is available here.
Ministry website for Old Spences Bridge.
A Vision For Old Spences Bridge
Communities find a second life for obsolete train and vehicle bridges.
Bridging The Gap Between Two Neighborhoods (includes audio).
If you are interested in talking with the public servant who made the decision to close Old Spences Bridge to pedestrian traffic, here is her contact information:
District Manager, Transportation
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
Thompson Nicola District
Dec. 20th: Kamloops Daily News Article re Our Petition.