98 The Beach

98 The Beach

Friday, November 2, 2018

Chesley Bridge Funding Denied

Chesley | by John Divinski  

Provincial Disaster Fund is not giving money to Bruce County to fix the Main St. Bridge

Photo By John Divinski 

The provincial Municipal Disaster Recovery Assistance (MDRA) program has said thanks, but no thanks and turned down a request by Bruce County for financial assistance in building the new Chesley Main Street bridge.

Had the application been successful, the MDRA could have funded up to 75% of the 3.2-million-dollar cost.

The MDRA helps Ontario municipalities recover from natural disasters but felt the Chesley Bridge project didn't qualify financially.

Outgoing Warden Paul Eagleson didn't mince words with his reaction to the decision.

He says he wasn't surprised by the outcome stating, "Arran Elderslie never gets the funding for any of those things and this is the county.  We're used to getting the shaft."

Director of Corporate Services for the county, Bettyanne Cobean says they won't be scrambling since the county adjusted its 2018 budget to fund the entire build anyway however they wanted to see if there was any senior government money out there to lessen the impact.

Cobean says there's still a possibility for some sort of financial assistance elsewhere since they have also applied for Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF) Top-Up funding.  

She says the county was eligible to apply for almost $690,000 when an application was sent in last August.

Cobean says they hope to hear from OCIF sometime early in the new year, whether or not the county was successful in its bid.

Meanwhile, the county Director of Transportation and Environment Services Miguel Pelletier says work continues on the Chesley Bridge.

Pelletier says the deck was put down in the past week and they're still on target to have the bridge opened sometime in December.

You may recall the Chesley Bridge was damaged beyond repair by ice floes and water this past February and had to be closed to vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

It effectively, divided the town in two with those north of the bridge and the downtown core, south of the bridge.

Detours are currently in place.

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