Petition to repair the red covered bridge

0
45

Allyson Beauregard

MANSFIELD & FORT-COULONGE – A year has passed since the Ministry of Transport Quebec closed the Marchand bridge in Mansfield over concerns it was unstable. Since then, minimal structural work has been done and the bridge remains closed with no stated plans for

Allyson Beauregard

MANSFIELD & FORT-COULONGE – A year has passed since the Ministry of Transport Quebec closed the Marchand bridge in Mansfield over concerns it was unstable. Since then, minimal structural work has been done and the bridge remains closed with no stated plans for
re-opening. “Everybody is talking about the bridge; they are concerned as they see another summer approaching with it closed,” said Jane Toller (Pitfield), owner of Spruceholme, the Pontiac Conference Centre and Bryson’s Bistro du Bucheron in Fort- Coulonge.  
In an attempt to bring the bridge’s continued
closure to the attention of the provincial government, Toller, with the help of Pontiac MNA Andre Fortin, created a petition to be presented to the National Assembly. “The petition was created with the assistance of Andre Fortin’s office because we wanted to ensure the
wording of it was appropriate to be received by
the National Assembly,” explained Toller.
The petition highlights the historical importance of the bridge as well as its
significance to the Pontiac. “We need to make sure it is reopened considering its historic importance and the impact it has on businesses and residents. It is a main tourist attraction as well as a vital and important connection between Mansfield and Fort-Coulonge. It’s convenient and provides an extra route for businesses and residents in case of an emergency. A lot of people are building homes at Bryson Point, so the closest route to the highway is the bridge. When you think of the number of businesses, the easiest way to get here (Spruceholme) is through the covered bridge, especially when you are coming from the west,” said Toller, who stated the bridge’s closure needs to be treated with urgency. “In my experience, the longer something is closed, the less chance it will ever be reopened,” she added.
Petitions will be distributed in various locations across the Pontiac for
residents to sign including Conroy’s in Chapeau, Hodgins Home Hardware in Shawville, Bower’s and Metro in Fort-Coulonge, and the Pontiac Journal office in Mansfield etc. “We will distribute the petition as widely as possible. Anyone who wants copies can contact me at 819-683-5635. We are looking for as much participation as possible but ask that each person only sign it once,” explained Toller. “It’s time for people to join together and express their support for the bridge’s reopening to vehicular traffic,” she concluded. Signatures will be collected until about the end of May.   
The Félix-Gabriel-Marchand Bridge was built in honour of premier Felix Gabriel Marchand in 1898; it was declared a provincial heritage monument in 1989, and is the longest covered bridge in the Outaouais and Quebec.