The Kaslo Trailblazers hosted a ribbon-cutting for their Unity Bridge

Volunteer-built bridge unites Kaslo

The Kaslo Trailblazers Society has completed their eight-year project to construct the Unity Bridge.

The brand new Unity Bridge in Kaslo is a 130-foot, 50-tonne community project that cost $201,000 and took eight years to finance.

Officially dedicated on Sunday, it will connect the north and south sides of the Kaslo River Trail, opening up new options for hikers — they can now choose between a 3.7 or 10 km loop.

“The name Unity stands for the fact that it unifies the trails, unifies the north and south sides of Kaslo, and it shows what a small group of volunteers can do when they have support from people all over the world,” said society president Val Koenig.

The society was able to raise all but $15,000 of the bridge’s cost through international plaque sales. Over 70 volunteers assisted with the project, and Koenig estimates about 35 per cent of Kaslo’s adult population belongs to the society.

The timbers used for the bridge were sourced locally from Hamill Creek Timber Homes. Local contractors and companies provided free labour and support.

“This bridge is 100 per cent built by volunteers with no paid labour,” said Koenig proudly. “Gwil Cranes of Castlegar came out with a 200-tonne crane and 141,000 pounds of counterweight to put it in.”

The society received financial contributions from people in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa. The bridge was designed by Kaslo baker Silvio Lettrari.

“He designed our first bridge [installed in 2007] and we liked it so much we had him do the second one the same,” Koenig said.

One enhancement of the Unity Bridge is that it’s entirely wheelchair-accessible, dropping from a four to a two-foot (1.2 to 0.6 m) arch.

Koenig said Pennco Engineering was there to make sure they did everything “properly and safely.”

And though they did receive funding from Columbia Basin Trust, 90 per cent of the funds were either sourced locally or came through bridge plaque sales.

Koenig said the society will now focus on the trail-building aspect of their mandate. They plan to extend trails out towards South Fork, and ultimately cross the highway to connect to the Kaslo-Sandon wagon road.

Koenig said he’s thrilled to reach the end of the eight-year process. “It feels fantastic.”

 

Just Posted

U.S. Court upholds Teck pollution ruling

Teck appealed a previous decision that it must pay $8.25 million in Colville Confederated Tribes’ court costs

Home and Energy Show returns

The annual event takes place at the Prestige on Sept. 25

LETTER: Kudos to the Mural Festival

From reader Lisa Bramson

Nelson Leafs’ win marred by dangerous play

Nelson is undefeated through the first five games of the season

VIDEO: Lydia Kania is here to skunk you

The Vallican track athlete has turned to cribbage in her senior years

LGBTQ activists, allies in Victoria counter anti-SOGI protest with rally of their own

Lower Mainland activists plan to protest SOGI on legislature lawn, Sept. 29

Cities make power play for new fiscal order with eye to 2019 federal election

Trudeau ordered Champagne to talk with provinces and territories about ways to “address the timeliness of the flow of funds” to projects.

Ottawa area residents take stock of tornado rubble as Ford tours the ruins

A tornado on Friday afternoon tore roofs off of homes, overturned cars and felled power lines in the Ottawa community of Dunrobin and in Gatineau, Que.

Trudeau arrives at United Nations, hoping to re-establish Canada on world stage

Trudeau is beginning his day at the opening of the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit, where he’s scheduled to deliver brief remarks later this afternoon.

B.C.’s FATSO peanut butter to appear on Dragon’s Den

The Victoria company will be featured on the Sept. 27 episode of the popular show highlighting Canadian businesses

Whitecaps see playoff dreams fade after 2-1 loss to FC Dallas

Goal in 87th minute seals Vancouver’s fate

B.C. students send books to displaced students of Hornby Island school fire

Maple Ridge elementary school teacher says students learned about acts of kindness

Most Read