City inks Illecillewaet pedestrian bridge tenure deal with province, still waiting on grant news

The City of Revelstoke is inking a deal with the province that gives them tenure and public access to a proposed pedestrian bridge that is planned to span across the Illecillewaet River at the old railway abutments.

The City of Revelstoke is inking a deal with the province that gives them tenure and public access to a proposed pedestrian bridge that is planned to span across the Illecillewaet River at the old railway abutments.

At their April 12 regular meeting, council authorized city staff to sign the agreement with the province. The city will pay $1 for the 30-year tenure over the two-hectare plot.

Plans for the bridge have been in development for over five years. City economic development director Alan Mason said currently the city is waiting to hear back from the province about the city’s $375,000 Towns for Tomorrow grant application.

Mason said they applied for the grant in January, and expected to hear back soon.

The Times Review last reported on the ongoing initiative in March, 2010. At that time, a Washington State-based engineering firm that builds and installs pedestrian bridges was studying the location. Mason said the company is no longer involved because it folded in 2010.

Mason estimates the total cost of the project to be about $700,000 to $800,000, which would be funded through grants.

He said the city has consulted with stakeholders over the years, including, for example, the Illecillewaet Greenbelt Society, who were on board with the project. He also said public planning sessions over the years has consistently identified the project as “a great idea and a great addition to the trail network.”

The city has been working with federal and provincial environmental authorities to gain regulatory approval.

The trail network is well established on the north side of the Illecillewaet. On the south side, there is a patchwork of roadways and informal trails. Mason said the idea was to get the bridge in place first and then work to develop the southern trails.

He added that concerns over flooding on the trails during high water years had been allayed when alternate routes had been identified.

If all goes well, the idea is to begin construction this summer, though that is still dependent on grant funding.