Dysart changes load limit on Koshlong Lake Bridge

By James Matthews
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Dysart council hopes a change in the weight limit on Koshlong Lake Bridge will be temporary.

Township bridges have to be inspected every two years. And it was through the course of regular inspection that staff noticed a broken timber girder on the Koshlong Lake Bridge.

Rob Camelon, Dysart’s Public Works director, told council during its Nov. 22 regular meeting that it’s because of that troubled timber that engineers have assessed the bridge’s load limit at seven tonnes.

“That’s problematic for our maintenance of the road, certainly in the winter time,” said Camelon.

It also creates maintenance issues for the remainder of the municipal road beyond the bridge by limiting the size of equipment or vehicles able to cross the Burnt River.

Costs are unknown at this time. And, in the absence of a departmental surplus, staff recommends the work be funded from the Roads Capital Reserve Fund.

The township has secured a contractor to repair the bridge. Camelon said work will include road excavation to make room to slide a timber girder beside the broken one, he said.

It should be a one-day job, he said, “but, until they get in there, they just won’t know.”

Camelon said the public will be made aware of the timeframe for repairs and any delays for the bridge’s use.

“Once the girder is in, engineers will re-evaluate it and assign a new load limit to it,” Camelon said.

Then the load restriction could be lifted at the next council meeting, said Dysart et al Mayor Murray Fearrey.

Fines may be in the offing for over-night loiterers

There have been many occasions over the last few years when the Head Lake Park Bylaw has limited staff from taking action against infractions happening in the park.

The bylaw either has weak penalties or non-existent penalties, according to a report to council penned by Andrea Mueller, Dysart’s programs and events manager.

“There have been repeated cases in which people are operating motor vehicles on the pathways in Head Lake and Rotary Beach Park,” she wrote. “Even after repeated warnings from Parks staff and bylaw staff, the individuals continue to repeat the same offences.”

One of the continual problems has been people driving through the park.

“Sometimes it’s by accident,” Mueller said during council’s Nov. 22 meeting. “They think the roadway continues, and they drive in.”

People drive into the park and use the toilet facilities, despite warnings from park staff. There’s even been issues with people sleeping inside the park in the privies, the bandshell, and library porch.

“It’s repeated nights, over and over again,” she said. “We’re looking to maybe update the park bylaw to be more current with the times.”

Staff suggest that the fine for the operation of a motor vehicle in the park without permission should be significantly increased to deter this type of behaviour.

Staff recommend that the Head Lake Park By-Law be changed to include a fee for overnight loitering. Fearrey directed staff to deliver an updated bylaw to council at a January meeting for review.