New Kuskanax Creek Footbridge in Nakusp wins award

At the UBCM conference in Vancouver in September, Wood Works! BC announced the winners of the 2013 Community Recognition Awards

The Kuskanax Creek Footbridge is an important part of the landscape in Nakusp.

The Kuskanax Creek Footbridge is an important part of the landscape in Nakusp. — Claire Paradis photo

Using wood in the design of local government projects was celebrated on September 18, 2013, at the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) convention in Vancouver, as Wood Works! BC announced the winners of the 2013 Community Recognition Awards.

The Kuskanax Creek Footbridge was named the winner for the Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Governments; the bridge is in the village of Naksup, near the Nakusp Hot Springs.

Karen Hamling, mayor of the Village of Nakusp, said she was both surprised and excited about winning, since this project is important for the community.

"There was a bridge in place, but it was condemned in 2006," said Hamling. "Being a small community, we didn't have a lot of extra funding and we knew a new bridge would cost in the $400,000 range, so we applied for funding through the government and the Community Recreation program for a grant. They awarded us $340,000, Columbia Basin Trust gave us $42,500 and the Village of Nakusp also put in $42,500. Because we have a wood-first policy, we wanted to make sure wood was used in the bridge and used a local supplier."

Nakusp is a logging community and follows the wood-first policy that Pat Bell put in place when he was minister of forests, lands and natural resource operations. Omega Engineering from Salmon Arm was the successful bidder for the bridge design contract. Tim Dunne, the designer and engineer of the bridge, took his ideas to council. There was a lot of discussion on what the bridge would look like. Dunne took the discussions into consideration and came back with a drawing for council. Then local contractor Dave Madden of Madden Timber Frames provided the wood and construction skills.

"The main part of the bridge needed to be steel, since it crosses over a 123-foot span, but then it was all faced with wood and the decking is wood," said Hamling.

The Kuskanax Creek Footbridge is an important part of the landscape in Nakusp.

"The great thing about the bridge is that it's connected to the whole Kuskanax trail system," she said. "You can go up to the hot springs and walk the whole trail system. You can also drive from town and then walk or bike the trail to get to the hot springs. It's amazing. People really like to go up there and hike around the pristine lands we own up there."

Since the bridge was completed, Hamling said traffic has actually increased on the trail system and to the hot springs.

Work on the bridge started on May 1, 2013, and was completed on July 12, 2013. A grand opening ceremony was held in August.

Wood Works! BC is a recognized resource to assist B.C. communities with the "build with wood" requirements on publicly funded projects, and its expertise, training and education is available free of charge.

The Community Recognition Awards are presented annually to local governments that have been exemplary advocates for wood. This may be demonstrated through the specification of wood in a community project and/or through visionary initiatives that work toward building a community culture of wood.

Karen Kornelsen

Karen Kornelsen, a writer for Kootenay Business Magazine, has a degree in jounalism. She enjoys finding and reporting the news from the business community. View all of Karen Kornelsen’s articles

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