New foundations (at left and right) are being laid upon the old train bridge abutments for the new footbridge over the Illecillewaet River

New foundations (at left and right) are being laid upon the old train bridge abutments for the new footbridge over the Illecillewaet River

New Illecillewaet pedestrian bridge named Mark Kingsbury Memorial Bridge

The new pedestrian bridge being built across the Illecillewaet River will be named the Mark Kingsbury Memorial Bridge.

The new pedestrian bridge being built across the Illecillewaet River will be named the Mark Kingsbury Memorial Bridge.

The decision to name the bridge after the former president of Canadian Mountain Holidays came at the Oct. 11 Revelstoke city council meeting.

Kingsbury passed away about a decade ago in a motorcycle accident.

A staff report explained the city had approached the Mark Kingsbury Foundation about six years ago for funding to help create the long-planned pedestrian bridge. The staff report says the foundation was prepared to provide $100,000 once the project was confirmed, if it was named after Kingsbury.

Now that the project is underway, the city has again asked the foundation to re-confirm their commitment. Again, the answer was yes, if the city was willing to commit to naming the bridge after Kingsbury.

Councillors Chris Johnston and Phil Welock expressed some concerns. Johnston worried the decision deviated from city policy on naming streets and other landmarks, while Welock felt it would be “an error on council’s part” to not put the decision out to public comment.

Coun. Peter Frew disagreed, noting the city had originally approached the foundation for funding, saying council should “carry out that commitment.”

Mayor David Raven agreed. “I think it’s only fair that we recognize our previous commitments to the Kingsbury family who in fact initiated this project many, many years ago.”

In the final vote, council was split down the middle. The mayor was the deciding vote in favour.

There are plans to create two new educational panels once the bridge is created. They will be modelled after the existing ones on the walkway near the Greenbelt. One will focus on railway history, and the other with highlight the heli-ski industry and its contribution to the local economy.

The following biography of Mark Kingsbury was provided in the council agenda package:

Mark Kingsbury Biography

Mark Kingsbury graduated from the University of New Hampshire in the early 1970s and moved to Western Canada. Mark started working in the heli-skiing industry with Canadian Mountain Holidays (CMH) in Banff. Mark worked as a guide, as the manager of the Bugaboo Lodge, and as an executive at the head office. Mark eventually took over as the President of CMH, the hand-picked successor to the company’s founder, the legendary Hans Gmoser. As described by one of his industry colleagues, Mark “was a dynamic figure shaping Canadian Mountain Holidays into the premier, modern back-country heli-skiing company with few peers…” Mark spent a great deal of time in Revelstoke, and strongly believed in the aspirations of the community to support a strong tourism industry.

Over the last few years of this life, Mark Kingsbury spoke often about the environmental, social and economic roles that adventure tourism can – and does – play in Western Canada. This was not just talk; it was his passionately held belief. He knew that wilderness tourism businesses could achieve success while protecting environmental values; that they could be a source not just of jobs but also of enriching careers; and that they could play many important roles in communities. He was never afraid to take a leadership role to continue to make these goals a reality. In particular, Mark was increasingly concerned about the need to bring solid facts and a sense of reality to the discussions which he had with all levels of government.

The Mark Kingsbury Foundation was created to act as a long-term legacy to support Mark’s vision and passion. Its purpose is to give funding support to environmental, tourism and social initiatives throughout British Columbia.