Shovels are poised to start digging at the proposed site of the pedestrian bridge in Plum Coulee.
June Letkeman, spokesperson for the Pedestrian Bridge Committee, says after a fourteen-month wait, the province has cleared the way for the project to move forward.
"We're very excited because we finally got an answer from Manitoba Infrastructure and the Water Resources department that our hydrology study is done and completed. Somehow or other it got lost in the cracks. Now we can think about in the spring, after we get the second and third step done, we hope to break ground as soon as the frost is out and start putting in the piers."
The second step is the geo-technical design which the committee is on the verge of completing; strep three is the construction permit which will be done shortly on the heels of the geo-tech study.
The project is about a year behind schedule.
"We started it the first year into COVID and then we had to leave it because we couldn't raise funds then, it just wasn't a good time. We have over half of our money raised, which is over $200,000, which is awesome! I'm just so pleased with all the support that we have had. It just tells me that the community really wants this pedestrian bridge."
Letkeman says they hope to have all the required funds raised by the time the bridge is up.
"We've applied for another Building Sustainable Communities grant. We got one last year for $62,000, which is wonderful. But we haven't been able to use it. We will need an extension on that because of our hydrological study that was so long in coming. Also, we have applied for a Community Spaces grant from the Co-op."
The committee has had several fundraisers to date in order to supplement the hoped-for grants.
"Right now, we have a fundraiser where we're selling boards for the bridge. For $250 you can buy a board and you will be recognized on a donor board at the bridge."
The entire project has been much more difficult than anticipated.
"All I wanted to do was build a bridge," exclaims Letkeman. "I had no idea we had to have all these permits and studies done by the government before we would be able to think about putting a pedestrian bridge there. But we will get it done. It will happen."
Once completed, the bridge will provide a safe pathway across the stream that divides the community.
"It's really necessary that we have this pedestrian bridge. We have condos and new developments happening on the north side. On the south side we have our school, churches, businesses and they need to be accessible by pedestrians. It will make a huge difference even for children wanting to go home from school at lunch."
Letkeman adds that the community support shown for the project has been amazing.