Lack of leadership?

Dear Editor:

RE: Closed bridges on and around 5th Line have residents detouring kilometres out of their way, July 14.

Thank you for your article about the condition of the bridges in the rural area near Belwood. Living on the 5th Line, our family has been, and continues to be, directly impacted by the bridge closures highlighted in your article.

Mr. Gilmore from Centre Wellington stated that bridge 16WG was closed in March 2021 and is slated to be replaced next year. The inference is that residents will be inconvenienced for only two years. 

What Gilmore didn’t say was that bridge 16WG had a height and weight restriction for five years prior to its closing. That means no school buses, no snowplows, no emergency vehicles, no farm equipment, no RV trailers, no horse trailers, etc. will be able to cross this bridge for about seven years, not just two years. 

Our neighbour almost had a barn burn down because emergency vehicles came to the bridge not knowing the height and weight restrictions were in place and had to turn around and take a 13-minute detour to finally arrive at his farm. 

There is a letter to the editor in last week’s paper from a neighbour of ours describing how the bridge closures has adversely impacted their bed and breakfast business. 

An item Mr. Gilmore failed to mention is that a Centre Wellington report completed in 1977 stated that bridge 16WG had 10 years of remaining life. That is not a typo. Centre Wellington has a report from 1977 that says bridge 16WG needed to be replaced by 1987.

I hope the above information lets the citizens of Centre Wellington know we were not just complaining about the conditions of the bridges near us, but our safety and financial well being has been impacted. 

Add that Centre Wellington has known that this bridge has needed replacement for 45 years, and it makes one wonder where is the municipal leadership on this issue?

Blair Greenly,