Nature lovers will soon be able to access a new pedestrian bridge over the creek in Mount Douglas Park as well as new connecting trails.
At midnight on Jan. 19, the District of Saanich opened bidding for the construction of a 36-foot long pedestrian bridge over Douglas Creek.
It’s a fairly small project but it has already generated a lot of interest nationally and from a few companies in the U.S., said Gary Darrah, Saanich’s manager of parks planning and development.
The district is looking for an aesthetically pleasing metal bridge – ideally made of aluminum or Corten steel – that’s lightweight, easy to repair and simple to install, he said.
The bid also specifies that the potential designs should include non-slip Gridwalk Mini-Mesh decking – a “long-lasting” material that won’t degrade in dark, damp conditions – and the concept must be certified by an engineer, Darrah explained.
If everything goes to plan, he expects the bridge will be completed sometime this summer. It will cross over the mid-section of Douglas Creek – where restoration work has been ongoing for several years – and allow park-users to access the water. New trails will also be established to connect the bridge to the existing ones on either side.
Work to make the bridge project a reality has been going on for several years, Darrah said. The Friends of Mount Douglas Park Society conducted a preliminary study in 2018 before pitching the idea to Saanich.
The district “saw that it had merit” and agreed to take on the project, he explained. In 2020, Saanich council approved a funding request for the bridge and allotted money through the Parks Capital Budget. Darrah couldn’t specify the amount budgeted before bidding closed.
The Friends of Mount Douglas Park Society was pleased to see the project getting underway after several years of work and will be contributing $25,000 to the project, said Darrell Wick, the society’s president.
“$10,000 is from our society’s fund and $15,000 from a grant we received from the Pacific Salmon Foundation,” he explained, adding that this should be enough to cover the cost of the bridge itself but not the bank reinforcement, new trail sections or management of the hazardous trees.
The new bridge will provide controlled, safe access to the section of the park between Cedar Hill Road and Edgemont Road and discourage bushwhacking while providing opportunities for “more interaction with the creek,” he explained.
Wick noted that a “salmon interpretive area” with access to the water, educational signs and seating will also be constructed as the society plans to hold future salmon carcass transplant events at the site as well as annual fry releases for local schools.