A worker makes his way carefully across the bridge while suspended in mid-air to connect the crane on the Scout Island side to the structure. Patrick Davies photo.

WATCH: RC Cotton site and Scout Island connected with new footbridge

The City of Williams Lake was proud to oversee the installation of this new bridge

Community members of all ages gathered on Scout Island and the RC Cotton site to watch the installation of a new footbridge’s tresses on Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 12 p.m.

Originally planned to be laid into place at 10 a.m., after a two-hour delay the crew of DBA Quality Excavating began a two-hour process of carefully lifting the large and solid metal main piece of the bridge into place. As they did children, Scout Island visitors and members of the Williams Lake Field Naturalists looked on and took photos.

The project was funded by the City of Williams Lake, with the help of a government grant that covered 75 per cent of the cost, and championed chiefly by City Coun. Scott Nelson who was all smiles at the installation. Nelson said this will go a long way to putting the lake back in Williams Lake.

“This has been a fantastic community project,” Nelson said.”When it’s done it’s going to be an absolutely fantastic project because it’s going to connect all of the trails in our community on this end of the lake.”

About two years ago, Nelson said, the City first acquired the property at the head of the lake and wanted to build a trail system that would connect with Scout Island and other parts of the lakecity. This bridge is the centrepiece of this initiative and something he was “thrilled and excited” to see go up.

Read More: Update: Council awards contract for RC Cotton pedestrian bridge

The bridge is close to 200 feet long, Nelson said, and is made up of one complete span that weighs about 55,000 pounds that required two large cranes to lift into place.

Nelson said that the City is looking at developing the lakecity waterfront even more in the future and are looking at putting in a boat launch and extending the walkway down beside South Lakeside, among other projects. Their ultimate goal is to open up this side of the lake for the whole community, Nelson said.

“I’m over the hill, this is fantastic,” Nelson said, flashing a thumbs up.

While Ray Hornby, one of the directors on Scout Island’s board, welcomes the bridge he is cautious of the possible unintended impacts on Scout Island. Hornby said they’re eager to help with the development of the trail system in Williams Lake but hopes the public continues to use those located on Scout Island in a respectful manner.

“We’ve asked for the City to do something to control access, especially during the evening hours so we don’t have indiscriminate use, partying, this type of thing on the island,” Hornby said. “They’re going to put a gate on it and we’ll see how the gate operates.”

Read More:‘It’s a very exciting moment’; Coun. Nelson says of bridge installation connecting Scout Island, RC Cotton site

Hornby said they’ve asked for the gate to be on an automatic timer system so that no one person is responsible for locking and unlocking it.

He hopes the bridge will help people better understand Scout Island and it’s nature conservancy efforts in the area. As a ‘water fall area’ where animals and plant species lives he wants people to keep that in mind when using the island.

“We want to keep (Scout Island) as sort of the gem of Williams Lake,” Hornby said.

Both Hornby and Nelson confirmed that while construction will be completed by mid-November the bridge will not be made accessible to the public until the spring of 2020.

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Scout Island frequent user Jim Buckland (from left) watches the installation of the new RC Cotton Bridge with Scout Island director Ray Hornby and Scout Island Nature Centre teacher Bill Gilroy. Patrick Davies photo.

Williams Lake City Councillor Scott Nelson smiles as the new footbridge is manoeuvred into place on Scout Island on Wednesday, Nov. 6. Patrick Davies photo.

The new footbridge being manoeuvred into place as seen from the Scout Island side of the channel. Patrick Davies photo.

A worker watches closely as the new footbridge if carefully lowered into place on Wednesday, Nov. 6. Patrick Davies photo.

A class of children visiting Scout Island takes some time to watch the installation of the bridge of Wednesday, Nov. 6. Patrick Davies photo.

A class of children visiting Scout Island takes some time to watch the installation of the bridge of Wednesday, Nov. 6. Patrick Davies photo.

Scott Nelson grins as he discusses the new footbridge with members of the public on Nov. 6. Patrick Davies photo.

Scott Nelson gives a big thumbs up beside the newly installed footbridge to Scout Island. Patrick Davies photo.

Williams Lake City Councillor Scott Nelson smiles as the new footbridge is manoeuvred into place on Scout Island on Wednesday, Nov. 6. Patrick Davies photo.

The view of the new footbridge from the jetty on Scout Island following its instalment on Wednesday, Nov. 6. Patrick Davies photo.

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