Red Deerv County seeks partners to afford bridge access
Future work on the Mintlaw Bridge will require funding from other associations, council heard last Tuesday.
The bridge, purchased by Red Deer County for $1, has since had $205,000 invested in it for rehabilitation work while new estimates peg opening it up to pedestrian traffic at as much as $3.2 million.
Currently no one is allowed on or across the bridge which would link to part of a regional trail system connecting from Highway 2A to Benalto.
During the April 10 regular council meeting, Mike Room with RC Strategies reported to council about a recent Public Access and Preservation Strategy.
The study identified what repairs are necessary to allow for pedestrians and bicycle traffic and stakeholder and landowners’ issues and concerns.
While landowners’ concerns were split — 14 of 38 landowners said they wanted to see public access, 13 said no and 11 said they were unsure — nine out of nine organizations said there should be access to and across the bridge.
The cost, however, to allow access to and across the bridge is estimated between $2.7 and $3.2 million with an estimated annual operating and maintenance cost of $225,000 to $250,000.
Access across the bridge was one of four potential options considered. The other options included disallow access, allow access to a viewpoint and the third, access just onto the bridge.
While the study suggests access across would be best for the long term, allowing for a trail to attract tourists and the general public, it couldn’t be done without assistance from other groups.
Jo-Ann Symington, community services manager, explained to council that the county is accepting unsolicited proposals from potential partner groups interested in helping with the capital and operating costs.
Eligible groups and organizations include non-profits, local government organizations, local economic development organizations and corporate organizations.