Damage from a fire and the effects of time and weather have prompted the city to tear down a wooden bridge that crosses the Millstone River in Bowen Park. Plans are to possibly replace it with a steel span. CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

UPDATE: Police ask for any information about burned bridge at Bowen Park

Post-fire inspection prompts city to remove bridge and plan for a replacement

A footbridge that was fire-damaged in Bowen Park will be torn down and the city will start shopping for a replacement.

The action follows and inspection after a the bridge decking was set alight with pages torn out of a paperback novel early Monday.

“This was an extremely selfish deliberate act that could have caused significant damage to not only the bridge but to the surrounding forest,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, in a press release.

Al Britton, city manager of parks operations, said last week that the wooden structure, which has been closed since the fire, not only suffered fire damage but is starting to deteriorate from the effects of weather.

The bridge, built by the Nanaimo Lions Club, crosses the Millstone River to connect park entrance trail at Millstone Avenue and Bradley Street.

“We’re going to remove it, unfortunately,” Britton said. “We had an engineer actually looking at the feasibility of what we can do to repair it, if it’s possible to repair it. It has lived well past its lifespan and the fire just may have got us to move it a little faster.”

Britton said the city will be studying the cost of replacing the approximately-25-metre span with a steel bridge with a replacement hopefully being completed by summer 2020.

The existing bridge will be removed by mid June.

Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-8477 or submitting a tip online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.



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