About 50 people gathered today under a sunny, blue sky to watch the official opening of the $50,000 Rotary Bridge project linking Sackville’s 55-acre Waterfowl Park with a 20-acre park extension on land donated by the late Daniel Lund.
“Some time ago I used to walk along here and look across and say ‘what an opportunity we have to tell an environmental story,'” Mayor John Higham told the crowd just before helping to cut a green ribbon officially opening the bridge.
“People understand the marsh, but then right beside it is grassland and right behind that is the forest,” Higham added, referring to the Lund property.
“We’ve got a perfect environmental story which shows you how the environment works and how all the parts working together create what we have and create what we need to protect,” the mayor said.
“This bridge is the piece that links it all together.”
Sackville Rotary Club President David McKellar said the bridge represents the club’s policy of giving back to the community. He was referring to the $25,200 the Rotary Club donated to make the bridge possible.
“You’ll see small, but significant signs on the bridge saying that we’re a community partner and that’s why we’re here today,” McKellar added.
“Bridges seem to be a specialty of the Rotary Club of Sackville,” said Sandy Burnett, Chair of the Sackville Waterfowl Park Advisory Committee. “The bridge at the Swan Pond is another fine example.” He also thanked the club for helping with two observation towers in the Waterfowl Park.
Burnett, along with Al Smith, were founding members of the park, which opened more than 30 years ago.
“We really didn’t dream the degree to which the place and its trails would be adopted as a community gem and a community treasure,” he said.
Memramcook-Tantramar MLA Megan Mitton noted that the bridge opening was happening on a chilly, wintry day.
“This place is amazing to use all year round,” Mitton said, “and so we’ll be here and people will be able to use this bridge to go over to the Lund extension even when it’s wintry and stormy.”
She added that the large number attending the bridge opening ceremony shows how special the Waterfowl Park is to the people of Sackville.
During its meeting on Tuesday, Sackville Town Council approved awarding an additional $18,481.75 to Sackville General Contracting bringing the total cost of the Rotary Bridge project to $50,881.75.
Town Engineer Dwayne Acton said the additional money was needed to cover unanticipated costs including an extra 48.5 metres (159 feet) of helical bridge supports needed to hit solid ground.
He agreed with Councillor Shawn Mesheau that helical supports for boardwalks in the park had to be sunk to greater depths than expected.
“It’s extremely difficult to predict exactly where you’re going to hit that solid point to get the load capacity that we’re looking for,” Acton said.
For coverage of the official opening of the Lund extension to the Waterfowl Park last June, click here.