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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: $5-million bridge amounts to ‘empire building’

Regional District of Nanaimo’s priorities misplaced, suggests letter writer
The Regional District of Nanaimo is planning a bridge connecting South Wellington to Cedar. (News Bulletin file photo)

To the editor,

Re: RDN committee recommending $5-million bridge over Nanaimo River, Oct. 18.

Once again, the RDN indulges in empire-building at the expense of taxpayers. It would seem there is a dire need to get horses and wheelchairs across the Nanaimo River from Cedar to South Wellington, apparently for the purpose of sightseeing.

Perhaps the committee should climb down out of their ivory tower and have a walk through the areas they want to make more accessible for horses and wheelchairs.

It is about 900 metres from the Cedar side to the bridge site, and then another 700m to the Morden Colliery park parking lot. This does not include the bridge span. I hope it is not just the bridge that is going to cost $5 million because there is a vast amount of trail work to also be done.

The director says it’s a “straight shot to the highway,” ignoring the fact that it is uphill all the way except for one steep adverse with no shoulders and totally unsuited to wheelchair users. Horses would be fine until they got to the culvert under the road and that might be a problem.

She also stated that the route takes users one block later to the South Wellington Community Centre. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the community centre is just a school that has been closed for the last 10 years, and the estimate to make it acceptable as a community centre was $1.2 million a while ago. Cedar has its own community centre, so why would someone take their wheelchair all that distance to visit the one that South Wellington doesn’t have yet?

Perhaps a more concerted effort on road maintenance and repair might be a better focus than trying to make the whole Island wheelchair accessible.

Rod Hancock, Nanaimo

The views and opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the writer and do not reflect the views of Black Press Media or the Nanaimo News Bulletin.

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