Unresolved issues between the City and the Williams Lake Field Naturalist are blocking the opening of the new Scout Island bridge.
At the close of the regular city council meeting Tuesday, the Tribune asked when the public could expect to see the bridge opened, and Hasib Nadvi, manager of planning and development, said not until concerns surrounding the possible transfer of knapweed from the RC Cotton site over to Scout Island and security issues at night are addressed.
“We have a meeting in January with the Field Naturalist and are hopeful things can be resolved. We will have to look at putting up some fencing to stop people and pets from going off the new trail so knapweed at the RC Cotton site isn’t spread to Scout Island,” Nadvi said.
The Field Naturalists had requested a locked gate on the bridge to address vandalism concerns, Nadvi added, but said now the City is worried about liability if someone gets trapped on Scout Island.
Ordell Steen, co-president of the Field Naturalists, said Wednesday they are not opposed to the bridge at all, but want to make sure the values of Scout Island are protected as well as their commitment to the Nature Trust who owns the land.
There is a large patch of knapweed on the RC Cotton site and the Field Naturalists raised that during meetings with the City before the bridge was installed, Steen said, noting volunteers have worked diligently to eradicate knapweed on Scout Island and presently there is none there that they know of.
When asked about the possibility of it spreading to Scout Island naturally, Steen did not negate that possibility because the knapweed does go right down to the water.
Nadvi said the City will put up fencing on the RC Cotton site but will have to wait for the snow to leave in the spring and has considered putting boot brushes at the entrance of the bridge on the RC Cotton site was well.
Steen said the security issue is a big concern. Presently the gate at the entrance of the causeway to Scout Island is locked every evening.
The caretaker living in the house on Scout Island can see if anyone tries to come in and on occasion has called the police.
“If someone comes onto Scout Island from the new bridge, the caretaker will not be able to see that so we asked for the gate and the City said it would be locked each night. Now they are worried about liability,” Steen said.
Nadvi said the City is looking at other options, such as an alarm or something.
Steen also said the Field Naturalist are hopeful resolutions will come about in the new year when they meet in January.
Originally the City had planned a soft opening of the bridge for Wednesday, Dec. 18, which was postponed.