Save the Ross River bridge

Save the Ross River bridge Open letter to Yukon cabinet: I remain extremely disappointed that meetings and correspondence over the past six months have not been able to correct the wrong turn taken by the Yukon government last September 2013. I met with

Open letter to Yukon cabinet:

I remain extremely disappointed that meetings and correspondence over the past six months have not been able to correct the wrong turn taken by the Yukon government last September 2013.

I met with Harvey Brooks, Jack Bowers and Janet McGillivray to inform them of the opportunity to save the Ross River bridge, but was advised that funding for repairs was not available.

The peer review did not address real options for repair but also got caught up in false economics for an unnecessary upgrade. This was opposite to what the government had requested and promised.

I have re-stated this strongly to you in an open letter so that it does not go unnoticed again. It is time for ministers to understand what is happening here, and the difficulty we are having in dealing with costly economics of climate change.

I trust that you will find it timely to revisit this issue again, with demolition costs at hand to be received this week. The footbridge served to link the north to the south side of the Pelly River, and its relevance to tourism, good First Nation relations, and shared year-round access to Yukoners is duly noted.

I don’t know why the Yukon government would want to reduce opportunities to have access to the north side of the Pelly at this critical time in mining promotion and negotiations. Federal funding would certainly be helpful to offset the minor cost of modest repairs to keep this valuable bridge in service.

The footbridge is safe with modest action as the enclosed summary will present to you. I trust that the assembled information, and the costs associated for demolition versus repair, will give you the opportunity to keep your word and repair this bridge.

Notably, you have not offered any replacement or put any value on tourism value of this iconic landmark.

I regret that with no return calls or follow-up from Yukon Party ministers that I have had to resort to CBC Radio and an open letter to Community Services Minister Brad Cathers to put facts on the table and have this issue addressed openly. You deserve a final opportunity to fulfill your commitment.

I will also be presenting this viewpoint again to Community Services and Mike Johnson, deputy minister of Highways and Public Works.

I look forward to a reconsideration of decisions made hastily last July/Aug/September that are harmful to Yukoners.

I will also be raising the dangers of outsourcing critical decisions to consultants in other provinces this week at a lunchtime meeting with Yukon’s property management division. Example: having 14 buildings in Dawson reviewed by Manitobans at twice the price of Yukon professional architects and engineers is deplorable.

The deliberate war being waged on local consultants is unnecessary and duly noted. It is not yielding dividends, only hardships. Many consultants have been excluded from any work with property management in their declared “scorched earth” policy to not directly hire local consultants. I trust a vigorous response will also help deal with this unfruitful turn of events as well.

Robert Wills, P.Eng., Struct. Eng.

Faro / Whitehorse

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