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Saturday, April 7, 2018

Chesley Bridge Update

Chesley | by John Divinski  

County amends budget to pay for bridge, applies for grant, and looks to help downtown businesses

The good news is Bruce County is amending its 2018 budget to include the 3.2-million-dollar cost to replace the Chesley Bridge which is closed due to ice damage.

In the meantime, staff is going to apply for provincial financial help, under the Municipal Disaster Recovery Assistance (MDRA) program.

Director of Corporate Services Bettyanne Cobean told the Corporate Committee (APR 5), the MDRA is "A provincial program that is there for sudden, unexpected emergencies which we certainly believe the replacement of the Chesley Bridge will qualify."

Cobean says staff has been in touch with the province informally on the matter and "They're certainly supportive of our application."

The MDRA could fund up to 75% of a given project if all conditions are met.

Meanwhile, Chesley residents and businesses continue to grapple with the problem of having the bridge closed, effectively splitting the community in two.

Arran Elderslie Mayor and Bruce County Warden Paul Eagleson says there is a working group in the community that is looking for ways to let people know that downtown Chesley is open for business.

Eagleson says they have been talking about additional signage at the bridge, backed up with radio advertising.

He says no decisions have been made yet on any plan of action.

Eagleson says one plan that doesn't seem to be working out too well, is offering a shuttle service for people who might need it to get from the north side of the community to the business core.

Operating on Wednesdays and Fridays, he says "It's not being used very well at all."

Officials committed to a six-week pilot project using one of the buses provided by Saugeen Mobility and Regional Transit (SMART) and Eagleson says they'll let the six weeks play out but he suspects they'll have to come up with what he calls a "Plan B."

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