Residents of a small Cape Breton community are growing increasingly frustrated more than two years after a bridge linking one end of the community to the other was torn down.
People who live in Mira Gut, N.S., say the demolition has left the community divided and they’re demanding public consultation.
“It’s symbolic. ‘Bridge’ means connection and right now we don’t have a connection to our community,” said resident Diana MacKinnon-Furlong. “The opposite side of the bridge is our friends, our family, our neighbours.”
The bridge stood for nearly 140 years until it fell into disrepair and had to be torn down late in 2017. More than two years later, it still hasn’t been replaced.
The area’s new opposition MLA raised the issue in the Nova Scotia legislature this week.
“I think it’s quite ridiculous, to be honest,” said Progressive Conservative MLA Brian Comer. “It’s a vital artery. It causes a significant delay in medical emergencies, the day-to-day commutes to work, individuals who are trying to enjoy that area during the tourism season.”
In a statement Sunday, a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal told CTV News that the bridge will be replaced in 2021-22.
“To prepare for construction, we have completed preliminary design work, corrected alignment and right-of-way issues on-site, and completed a boat survey that included consultation with members of the community who use the Mira Gut River,” said spokesperson Marla MacInnis.
Comer says a public consultation session on the issue is tentatively set for the end of April.
For now, residents are stuck with a roughly 20-minute detour. They say they were initially told work would likely start this spring, but the date was pushed back a year, adding to their frustration.
“They’re making troubled waters for us,” said MacKinnon-Furlong. “We want to work with them. We want to know what’s going on.”
The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal says the project proposal has been filed with Transport Canada. It also adds that it has consulted with local businesses in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and that consultation will come in the form of public meetings held by the department, ahead of detailed design work.