A new bridge has brought back fond memories for a local family with deep roots in the community.
Members of the McEwing family joined Mayor Luke Charbonneau, along with Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Lisa Thompson (Huron-Bruce) to rededicate the new McEwing bridge. The two-lane 34m concrete and steel structure spans Mill Creek along Sideroad 18 & 19 and replaces the old single-lane bridge that was constructed in 1930.
“The old bridge holds a lot of memories for us,” said Douglas McEwing as he recounted his personal history of the bridge. “As children, we often spent Saturdays dangling a fishing line off it or crossing it twice a day to go to school. History tells us that this is the third structure to span what used to be the mighty flowing waters of Mill Creek. This waterway once powered a sawmill on the west side of this side road. Today, the land is owned by Bernard and Trudy Schwass.
The former bridge, built in 1930 holds many memories for a lot of us. Children spent their Saturdays dangling a fishing line from the former structures in hopes of bringing home a record catch and playing in the water. For myself I crossed this bridge twice daily to attend public school and many more with farm equipment and produce during my farming years.
In 1857 and four generations ago the 200 acres on the east side of this road was purchased from the Crown by the McEwing family that immigrated from Argyle shire Scotland. This surrounding land was at one time cleared of heavy timber and stone which was transported to our surrounding towns to support the infrastructure of many of its original buildings. As I reside at the south end of this road in the vicinity of Queen Hill, I continually see a large increase of traffic flow serving all phases of transportation. This new bridge will benefit those who are commuting on this route.“
Most of the bridge’s funding came from the Rural and Northern funding stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan (ICIP). The federal and provincial governments contributed $1.63 million – 83% of the cost — to the project, with the remainder covered by the Town.
“Our government understands that investing in rural Ontario is critical to developing local economies,” said Lisa Thompson, MPP for Huron Bruce and Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “This important infrastructure improvement will provide for a safe flow of traffic for the people of Saugeen Township and the many visitors who enjoy all that Saugeen Shores has to offer as tourist destination. I stand shoulder to shoulder with our MP Ben Lobb when I say that this type of investment rural infrastructure matters so much. When you think of Saugeen Shores, this is a very busy and growing municipality. As Minster of Agriculture, we have to make sure that in terms of making sure our farm implements and those who work 365 days a year to provide good quality of food at home and across Canada, they have safe passage. As we stand here today, we need to embrace heritage and we need to pay it (history) forward and make sure that generations to come understand the significance of all of our lands because it matters and it’s the last non-renewable source that we have and we have to care for it. The return on this investment (bridge) will be felt for generations to come.”
“This new bridge helps ensure that traffic will flow efficiently in Saugeen Township for decades to come,” says Mayor Luke Charbonneau. “We are grateful to both the federal government and the province for providing the funds to make this happen.”
Through the Investing in Canada infrastructure plan, the Government of Canada is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.
Two billion dollars ($2B) of this funding supports infrastructure projects that meet the unique needs of rural and northern communities like facilities to support food security, local access roads and enhanced broadband connectivity.
Ontario is investing $10.2 billion under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program to improve public transit; community, culture, and recreation; green, and rural and northern community infrastructure.