The president of Guelph Hiking Trail Club (GHTC), John Fisher, is urging the city to save an historic wooden bridge from demolition on the former Guelph reformatory lands. Fisher is calling on city officials to convince the province to preserve the trestle bridge, built in the early 1900s, and to pursue its purchase from Infrastructure Ontario (IO). In a letter to council, Fisher argues that the fair market value of the bridge should be about $1, and that the purchase would remove liability from IO.
Fisher's letter is on the agenda for Tuesday evening's council planning session, where proposed boundaries for a Heritage Conservation District study will be discussed and potentially approved for the former reformatory lands. City staff recommends including the bridge in the study, which is a precursor to seeking formal designation and protection under the Ontario Heritage Act.
Earlier this month, IO confirmed that the process for demolishing the former spur rail line bridge has begun. Fisher points to the city's vision statement for river systems, which obligates city staff to "treasure and protect" rivers and river corridors, in calling for the bridge to be saved. The bridge is on the city's municipal heritage registry, listed under the reformatory's address of 785 York Rd.
The Guelph Hiking Trail Club is urging the city to act quickly to save a historic wooden bridge from demolition. The bridge, built in the early 1900s, is located on the former Guelph reformatory lands and is currently managed by the volunteer-driven club. The city staff recommends including the bridge in the Heritage Conservation District study as a precursor to seeking formal designation and protection under the Ontario Heritage Act.
The GHTC president, John Fisher, has written a letter to the council, calling on city officials to convince their provincial counterparts that the bridge is worth preserving and urging the city to pursue its purchase from the province for about $1, which would remove the liability from Infrastructure Ontario. However, the province has already begun the process needed to demolish the former spur rail line bridge, which is on the city's municipal heritage registry.
The inclusion of the bridge in the conservation district study would provide protective elements, requiring new levels of approvals and scrutiny before anything could happen to the bridge. However, there are still challenges associated with saving the bridge, and steps need to be taken to overcome those challenges.