Heritage Minister silent on future of 103-year-old bridge - Mar. 08, 2013
The fate of the Maxwell Crossing Covered Bridge is in the hands of the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure.
However, Patrick Toth, a self-professed covered bridge enthusiast, is hoping if DOT can’t find merit in restoring the bridge, that another government department will step in to preserve it as a piece of provincial heritage.
“I sent a letter to the minister, and I’ve never had a response,” said Toth, referring to a missive he sent to Trevor Holder, Minister of Tourism, Heritage and Culture. “It was just a letter to encourage its repair.
“I think it’s important everyone stay focused, and if the DOT decides to abandon the bridge, someone should step up. Heritage should step up and take it on as a historic landmark, not as a piece of transportation.”
The south side of the bridge, built in 1910, was damaged Jan. 21 when a car smashed into it. Minister of Transportation Claude Williams outlined to the Courier on Jan. 31 (published in the Feb. 1 Courier Weekend) that restoring the bridge would cost roughly $500,000, while replacing it with a modern bridge would cost about $300,000.
“It would not be unreasonable to think heritage could have a stake in the restoration, to help share the costs,” said Toth. “It could also be shared by private municipal groups or other private groups as well.
“Perhaps they feel it’s Department of Transportation’s responsibility, but I feel heritage should be involved; perhaps for funding, but if DOT wanted to abandon the funding, then to restore it as a historic landmark.”
The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure is also pursuing the car owner’s insurance as an avenue to recover some of the costs.
Huma Pabani, the Toronto-based manager of corporate communications for TD Insurance, confirmed the car was insured through that company, and that the claim is still open.
“When a claim is open, we can’t speak to the specifics of a claim due to privacy,” said Pabani.
A number of calls over a period of three weeks to the communications division of the Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture made by the Courier/Courier Weekend requesting an interview with Holder have not been returned.