Friday, February 26, 2021

Survey launched to gather Baseline Bridge feedback

The Municipality of Chatham-Kent has launched a survey to gather more feedback about the Baseline Bridge in Wallaceburg.

The Municipality is asking all members of the public to complete a survey which can be found, here.

The survey will remain open until Monday, February 24.

The survey will also be available at the Public Information Centre, being held tonight, February 19, 2020 at the Wallaceburg Service Centre (786 Dufferin Ave.) from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

“The purpose of this public meeting is to explore options and obtain public feedback for the future of the Base Line Bridge, along with all other bridges in Wallaceburg, either becoming fixed/non-movable or continuing with all as movable structures,” Municipal officials said in media release.

“If any members of the public are unable to attend this public meeting, they are welcome to submit comments back to the Municipality either through phone (519-360-1998), by emailing ckinfo@chatham-kent.ca or by completing this new survey.”

Wallaceburg Councillor Aaron Hall said he and Councillor Carmen McGregor have been busy fielding calls, emails and messages on the topic.

“The response so far has been overwhelmingly in support of maintaining it as a swing bridge/movable structure,” Hall said in a social media post.

“Councillor McGregor and I both strongly agree about the importance of keeping the bridge as status quo and making the necessary repairs. Our waterways in and around our community are one of our greatest assets, are a focal point for many community events/leisure activities and helps shape our community’s identity.”

Municipal staff said the municipality is in the process of repairing both structural and mechanical elements of the bridge that need to be addressed in a timely manner.

Because of the large differential between the works required and ultimately the costs associated with the repairs, it is recommended to seek public input to ensure all alternatives are being considered before a decision is made on how to proceed, staff added.

“We recognize the importance of the bridge to Wallaceburg and we want to make sure we hear from residents,” said Chris Thibert, Chatham-Kent Director of Engineering, in a media release.

“I want to emphasize that no decisions have been made. We’re presenting options for residents to consider.”

Hall said he’s appreciative of the fact that staff reached out and agreed to organize a public engagement session in Wallaceburg.

“Overall, with any project or work needed in the community, I expect our staff to always look for efficiencies and to ensure recommendations come forward that are fiscally responsible,” Hall said.

“In this case, I believe the content and details of the early report, that is in the works by staff, would have been a difficult choice for all of Council to make, when looking at costs.”

Hall added: “That is why we need context and why we need input from the community. Public engagement and feedback is something that I will always seek and is my default go-to when it comes to making decisions on behalf of our community.”

The contract for the repair works is planned to go to the next regular meeting of Chatham-Kent Council on March 2.

If any members of the public are unable to attend this public meeting, they are welcome to submit comments back to the Municipality either through phone (519-360-1998) or by emailing ckinfo@chatham-kent.ca.

Additionally there is the option of attending the council meeting on March 2.

Hall said he’s gathering input he receives and will be sharing it with staff and Council.

“Councillor McGregor and I need your thoughts, your stories, your input and your perspective,” he said.

“It is your voice that will help shape this decision that will be in front of Council. I’m confident, that collectively as a team, which includes Council, administration and most importantly the citizens in our community, that we’ll make the right decision.”

Watch for more on this story.

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