Over the weekend of Oct. 29 to Oct. 30 a bridge near Olson Crossing was vandalized in Sparwood. The bridge was close to brand new and was a part of the Elk River and Coal Discovery Trail, which will connect communities from Elko to Elkford.
“Sometime between Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon a bridge on the Elk Valley Trail was stolen,” said Sparwood’s Director of Community & Facility Services, Duane Lawrence. “We posted about it on the Sparwood Recreation Department’s Facebook page and got a lot of shares.”
Those social media shares led to a tip on the location of the bridge.
“It turns out the bridge was about 600 metres down the road from its designated location.
We got a tip from a couple of people that saw it there, not as many people go that way – I didn’t see it when I went to the site,” said Lawrence.
According to Lawrence the bridge could not have been moved easily.
“I don’t have the actual weight of the bridge with all the decking on it, but I’d say it’s between 700 and 800 pounds. Definitely not something a couple of guys could lift out easily. They probably used some sort of machinery or a vehicle,” he said.
Although the damage to the bridge was not major, there are still costs associated with replacing the bridge.
“There will definitely be some cost, putting the bridge back where it was that we were not planning or budgeting for,” said Lawrence. “This means that we need to take some money out of something else on the trail to do it.”
Despite this incident, the Elk Valley Trail has seen a very successful year with close to 60 to 70 per cent of the trail being completed.
“We are seeing a lot of people starting to use the trail in our area. There has been so much positive feedback on the trail and we are seeing users make the most of the completed sections,” said Lawrence.
The community is still seeking information on the incident.
If you have any information please contact the District of Sparwood at 250.425.0552 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The remainder of the trail that connects much of the Elk Valley is scheduled to be finished before the funding deadline date of July 1 in conjunction with Canada’s 150 anniversary.