Just a few weeks removed from talking about the amount of work being put onto a strained staff, Mayor Jack Mussallem asked staff to look into an idea that makes no sense whatsoever.
His Worship has asked staff to report back on the possibility of constructing a road on the land behind Petro Canada that would run along Hays Creek down to George Hills Way. The thought behind it is if the aging bridge that connects Hays Cove Circle to 6th Ave. East or the wooden bridge in Cow Bay were to fail, there would be an alternate route to access that part of town.
Even if you ignore the fact that there are several alternate access points to that side of the bridge — namely from Frederick through 7th Ave. East and George Hills Way itself — the idea of pouring any money into researching a road that would cost millions of dollars to construct is so ridiculous it hurts the head.
If you’re going to spend money to address a bridge nearing the end of its life, put the money toward the replacement of the bridge(s) that access the east side! Rather than waste any limited staff time or city money on this unnecessary idea, use that time on more pressing issues and put that money aside for the future replacement of one or both of the bridges.
Chief financial officer Corinne Bomben told the Select Standing Committee on Finance that replacing the bridges would cost approximately $2 million apiece, a price point I imagine would be similar to the engineering work, land clearing and overall construction that would be needed to build the all-season road Mayor Mussallem was pitching.
The City of Prince Rupert is not setting the world on fire financially, not by a long shot. If it were, the bridges in questions would have likely been replaced a long time ago. A new road to connect two areas of town that are already very well connected is an extravagance the city cannot afford and should not be considering.
And if you think this is a good idea, I have a wooden bridge I’d like to sell you…