Synopsis from Bridge meeting

Synopsis from Bridge meeting

SC Bridge Meeting – Sept 28, 2023

Meeting was recorded by the Kicker. My AD (Alternate Director) Charlotte Hall went through the recording and made these notes. (She’s awesome!)

Budget $830,000 Timeline 3 weeks

COMMunity: 7pm-6am is a long time. Very inconvenient for mothers trying to get their children home from after school sports programs. Also inconvenient for our working-class citizens who are trying to get home after a long day.

MOTI: For the first 3 days (or so) they will need that long of a closure to get the crews in rhythm with the processes. After day 3 we will have shorter hours of closures (9pm-4am was suggested by AIM representative). Also, after day 3 there will likely be a break set (perhaps 12-1am or 1-2am) so loggers can get to work. Those breaks times may change daily.

COMM: “Could the first 3 days start on a Friday?”
New start date set for Friday the 14th. As the community mentioned that this would be less of an inconvenience for the longest nights of closures.

MOTI: “If the break times can change daily, what is the best way to get the information out to the public so they can set alarms or make plans to cross at those times?”
MOTI website, but not everyone is familiar, or will remember the link for that. Currently locals are very trusting to the information that is shared on ‘Jay’ Facebook page. Also, the ‘Kicker’ Facebook page is back up and running. MOTI will be sure to share that info to these two and other stakeholders so these platforms can be used for sharing information about daily bridge opening/closing times.

MOTI: “What groups often cross the bridge around the same time each night? Who should MOTI reach out to coordinate the best times for these ‘breaks’?”
Reach out to the mill, Mattey brothers, and other logging contractors.

MOTI: There will be foot traffic allowed across at anytime with only minor delays for safety.

Community involvement for parking lot ideas? -Scotch Creek Market and the 670.
Community involvement on ideas for Shuttles? -The Hub’s shuttle bus, Brian Knipstrom, Lions club volunteers

Concerns mentioned about the security of vehicles parked in these places. Especially work vehicles with thousands of dollars of gear/fuel in them.
MOTI: Extra flagging staff can be hired for that if it becomes an issue.

“Why don’t we put the money that we’re using to repair the bridge towards replacing the bridge all together.” The budget for repair and replacement are totally separate. One will not affect the other.

MOTI: An ‘Options Study’ is going to happen next fiscal year (within April 2024-April 2025). That will tell us what kind of bridge we could potentially replace ours with in the future, and what the costs associated with that would be.

“Why weren’t we told about the bridge closures until now, if you’ve been planning it for two years?!”
MOTI says they didn’t know exactly what dates this could happen until a couple months ago. Fires also delayed certainty of dates.
Honestly, nobody would’ve cared if we were told about this 6 weeks ago. We were busy.

Concerned about the lack of communication with the North Shuswap First Responders(NSFR) and BC ambulance services.
MOTI: They had communicated with the Scotch Creek fire chief but will work with Jackie to make sure those relationships with NSFR and thus, BC Ambulance services are created. There is an emergency plan in place if someone in distress needs to be transported across the bridge by ATV. There will also be a level 3 first aid personnel on site.

“Why can’t you put bridge maintenance off another month or till the loggers are on spring breakup?”
Any chance of freezing would cancel the project. Enormous pressures will be in place to hold the beams together during maintenance repairs and pulling them apart when they’re frozen together could be more difficult, creating longer delays. Putting it off till the spring could be done, but at a risk. It could break a little bit. If it starts breaking down there will be weight restrictions put on that will slow down our community from rebuilding or loggers trying to carry heavy loads of burnt timbers across.

Mudslides wiping out the bridge was a concern mentioned.
Consensus was that yes, this could happen. There is technical support teams that will monitor the likelihood of this and provide suggestions for how to improve the area around the bridge to avoid any predicted damages/failures.

“Couldn’t a temporary bridge be installed?”
No because:     1.    The land next to the bridge would have to be purchased and logged.     2.    There may also have to be a support post put in the middle of the creek.     3.    The embankments would have to be distributed.     4.    Fish. Indigenous lands.     5.    All the above would require more time that we don’t have.     6.    Lastly and LEAST IMPORTANTLY, budgets.  

MOTI Bridge Area Manager Chad Marsh was here during the fires! He drove under leaning power poles that were on fire. He helped to make sure our bridges had the equipment needed and were okay. This has been previously unheard of as a solution by MOTI.

They put major labour forces towards repairing the bridge on Holdings Road so it was done quickly. We thank them for their efforts. (This also made the people trust him more).

The community clearly has some trust issues and abandonment issues with anyone who works for the government. I had to mention multiple times that we must check that, and not hold our personal issues against the gentleman that came here today as our guests.

In the future -Try to communicate about bridge closures further in advance. 24 days notice kinda caught everyone off guard.

Final Thought: Although one middle aged lady walked out because she felt she “wasn’t being heard”, most everyone else seemed to be happy with the information they received and the willingness of the gentleman to come out and hear their concerns.

(Thanks Charlotte! And thanks to Erik and Chad for coming and listening to us.)

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