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REPORTING · 18th July 2013
Walter McFarlane
Councillor Mary Murphy made a motion to have the District of Kitimat investigates the need, cost and options for a second bridge to serve City Centre and the Industrial area and report to Council.

“There’s concern regarding the bridge connecting the Service Centre and the Industrial Area and there’s lots of information and there are plans previously for a second bridge, diverting some of the traffic, and there is a suggestion of an existing addition to the bridge that’s already there that would add another lane, and, of course, there is a suggestion by Bill Kearley who is promoting an industrial road and a second crossing at the Methanex Site,” said Murphy.

Murphy stated the latter idea is not attractive to her and does not fit the District of Kitimat’s plans for waterfront access. She suggested putting a counter at the bridge so they know how much traffic is going in and out of town. This way, they can have some documents supporting what they are trying to do when they approach the government.

Mayor Joanne Monaghan stated she is meeting with the representative for this area and there is a lunch which Council is having with her among other meetings and appointments. She wanted to see if the option for a third lane in the bridge is possible. Monaghan added there maybe funding for infrastructure for communities working on technology and industry.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff made a referral motion to an upcoming strategic planning meeting. “I don’t disagree that at some point, we should look at this but I’m afraid that perhaps, this might be premature,” said Feldhoff.

He suggested that they were putting staff resources to work on something when there are other things which might be more important. He suggested they put the motion on the province because Council does not have enough money to paint the existing bridge.

Councillor Phil Germuth stated as a part of investigating the need, they should get the stakeholders, the industries which will be building down in the Service Centre area, involved helping improve the bridge. He expressed it will be a benefit to take to the government to get involved in the study on cost.

Murphy stated they should meet and prioritize with all the ministers. The motion is just for the staff to investigate which might not be necessary. She stated she has seen topics in the social media and has received calls telling her that Council is not doing their job because they are not looking at it.

Councillor Corinne Scott agreed with Councillor Mary Murphy. The motion was to investigate the need, rather than prioritizing or putting money aside.

Councillor Rob Goffinet stated the motion is acted upon every time they meet with ministry. The concern of the bridge comes up for discussion. He stated they will be putting this forward during future meetings with government.

Councillor Edwin Empinado expressed he found a document in 1952 which stated a temporary bridge had been constructed and a permanent one would be built at a later date. He wondered if this was the bridge which was referred to in the document.

“The document says: ‘there is a need, as the population grows, and industry grows, we need a permanent or a second bridge,’” said Empinado.

He was told Haisla Bridge was built off of the right away so a second bridge could be added in the future. A previous study which was done in 1970 looked at a second crossing off Quatsino Boulevard. In the 1990s, another study was done which determined that Kitimat did not need a second bridge.

Germuth wanted to know what the process to determine the need for a bridge would involve. The response was it would require a count of the traffic. It would also look at the previous studies of Traffic.

Feldhoff stated they have a meeting coming up where they will be looking at Council’s priorities. He did not want staff to look into the bridge issue unless Council first deemed it a priority. He said the staff are busy and there is no value in having them look at it at this time, prior to their strategic discussion.

Scott said it will not take time for the staff to write the government and request a count on the bridge. Feldhoff said there was nothing in the motion about writing a letter.

The referral was called and it failed, with Mayor Joanne Monaghan, Councillor Mario Feldhoff and Councillor Phil Germuth in favour.

Back to the main motion, Murphy closed debate. “We already have this on the priority list and this is looking for staff to spend a bit of time getting some options so if we do meet with the minister, we have some options and we’re telling them that the bridge is overused or the traffic is backing up. Having said that, when staff looks into it, it might not be necessary but the public knows we’re doing something about looking at another bridge,” said Murphy.

The motion was called and carried. Councillor Mario Feldhoff and Councillor Phil Germuth were opposed.
No second bridge, please...
Comment by Wolverine #2 on 4th August 2013
When Alcan, Eurocan and Methanex were all at full employment and Kitimat had close to 15,000 residents, there was no need for a second bridge. There certainly is no need for one now. There is no traffic problem. The last time the existing bridge was sanded and painted was back in 1986. That should be the priority. And if a second bridge was to be built, it should be up the highway, at the powerline crossing. This way the big rigs and workers from Terrace wouldn't be forced to drive through the middle of town. It would reduce traffic congestion in our downtown. Building a second bridge off of Quatsino, or anywhere downstream from the existing bridge, would be ludicrous.