Campbell River Mirror

Elk Falls suspension bridge one step closer

Braving the elements to mark a milestone in the Elks Falls suspension bridge project are (from the left) Coun. Ron Kerr, Rotary Club president Todd Peachey, Rotary project chair Lorrie Bewza, BC Hydro stakeholder relations manager Stephen Watson, former mayor Charlie Cornfield and Counc. Andy Adams. - Brian Kieran/The Mirror
Braving the elements to mark a milestone in the Elks Falls suspension bridge project are (from the left) Coun. Ron Kerr, Rotary Club president Todd Peachey, Rotary project chair Lorrie Bewza, BC Hydro stakeholder relations manager Stephen Watson, former mayor Charlie Cornfield and Counc. Andy Adams.
— image credit: Brian Kieran/The Mirror

A $150,000 grant from BC Hydro this week and the prospect of further matching funding has put the Campbell River Noon Rotary Club’s Elk Falls suspension bridge project within reach.

Key players involved in the project braved the elements Wednesday to celebrate the funding milestone. Overlooking the falls, BC Hydro stakeholder relations manager Stephen Watson said: “Today’s event is about good relationships and how working together makes things succeed. BC Hydro is supporting the Rotary Club’s Elk Falls suspension bridge project with a $150,000 funding contribution.”

Rotary project chair Lorrie Bewza said with the BC Hydro grant the Rotary Club now has $225,000 in its suspension bridge fund. The BC Hydro contribution is subject to BC Parks approval, but Bewza said the club already has approval in principal. “So, we’ve moved forward and applied for matching funding from Island Coastal Economic Trust and we have been notified that we have received stage one approval. That’s a massive step forward for us and hopefully we can start working on the project in the first quarter of 2013.”

Bewza said the suspension bridge may have a viewing platform attached that will be wheelchair accessible.

Watson said: “For the last few years we have been collaborating with the Rotary Club and other community leaders on the suspension bridge concept. The bridge crossing immediately below Elk Falls, high above the canyon floor, has come to life based on BC Hydro’s John Hart project mitigation works.

“BC Hydro has proposed a paved new access road and parking lot for 80 vehicles, including two spots for buses, beside the Elk Falls Park as part of the project’s compensation for the BC Parks Boundary adjustment. The new access and parking area is also being created out of consideration for the three years closure of Brewster Lake Road around the John Hart dam area.”

Watson gave credit to former Campbell River mayor Charlie Cornfield, “who solidified BC Hydro’s significant funding support to Rotary.”

Cornfield said: “BC Hydro’s contribution is particularly welcome and indicative of the relationship our community has with BC Hydro. They are a very good corporate citizen. They have always stood up to the plate to support community endeavors.”

The former mayor said the project “makes good economic sense, good environmental sense, and it makes good social sense too.”

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