Letter to the Editor

"Bridge on the Gopher Creek"

Maybe, Virdenites and people from the surrounding area, who want the bridge replaced will have to seek the services of Lieutenant Colonel Nicholson and his crew of engineers? "Bridge on the River Kwai"... for bridge on the Gopher Creek!

No Government commitment or priority for important bridge on Provincial Road, 257. Due to the onslaught of use, high waters and flooding over the past hundred years, a bridge that faithfully served Virden and area residents in southwest Manitoba was condemned in 2014. It is an historic bridge. For until the early 1950s, it was utilized by all traffic that wound its southern way through the town of Virden, as the then No. 1, Trans-Canada Highway. Now, after patiently waiting for five years to have the bridge replaced or suitably repaired, the populace is seeking action, and why it is taking so long? This is a very important avenue to access/depart Virden; not only for residents, tourists and businesses that require access to the area, but also for First Responders (fire fighters and ambulance service) plus police service to both the TransCanada Hwy and # 83 Hwy going north and south.

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It's time to remove this situation off the back burner and turn up the heat. There are other concerns.  Depending on their southern residential location, people wanting to travel east on #1, literally need to traverse through the town of Virden, until they turn right at the traffic lights at King St. and basically back, in some cases, very close to from where they departed. For the 60 plus homes in the vicinity this adds 10.5 kilometers to their needs and transportation costs.

Cost of the Bridge and Available Funding:

I have been informed that the Federal government has put aside their 80 per cent of Disaster Financial Assistance(DFA) funding and is only awaiting provincial action and their 20per cent contribution of funding to build the bridge. Cost estimates are varied, ranging from 1.5 Million and more.

The 20 per cent funding may be a stalling factor and considered as a budget excuse, however, when I read that the Pallister government contributes a $400,000 shot of taxpayers’ money for the Wpg. Jets Whiteout parties (CBC News, 9 April, 2019) there is another factor to consider.

As I see it, it's all about where the rural faithful are and where the majority of other potential voters are located. (City of Wpg) and with the possible call for an early election, the government is playing politics!

This is further supported in that according to CBC news, the province only kicked in $2,000 for the 2018 season white out parties, through Travel Manitoba. But then of course, 2018 was not an election year, was it?

John Fefchak.

Virden, MB.  


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