'I'm just a dad with a shovel': Winnipeggers reopen footbridge city closed over hazardous ice
WINNIPEG -- Barricades blocking off the footbridge over Omand's Creek in Wolseley are no longer there after the bridge was cleared of ice and snow.
But it wasn't the City of Winnipeg who cleared the trail -- it was two Winnipeggers.
"On Saturday we sort of had enough and decided we were just going to do it ourselves," said Chris Beauvilain.
The footbridge is an integral part of the active-transportation system that connects Wolseley and River Heights. Beauvilain lives in the area and said he wanted to help clear the way.
"I'm just a dad with a shovel," he said.
He put out a call on Facebook, where he connected with Brad Hignell. On Saturday, they met for the first time at the bridge and took nearly three hours to clear it off.
"People needed to cross the creek because they were crossing on the slippery ice beside the bridge when the bridge was full of ice," said Hignell. "You have a bridge for a reason -- it should be operational."
The City of Winnipeg however, wasn't too keen on the project.
In a statement to CTV News, it said, "The City does not take these types of closures lightly and only institutes them when a risk to public safety exists. What the residents did at the Omand’s Creek footbridge, though well-intentioned -- did not mitigate the public safety risk that existed at this location as it went beyond simply clearing ice off the bridge surface."
It goes on to explain that because of fluctuating water levels during the wet fall, there was overland flooding that then froze, causing hazardous ice. The ice expanded and contracted on, underneath and around the bridge, causing potential damage to the bridge structure that it wasn't able to inspect properly until the ice was cleared -- something that couldn't be done because of other, less easily mitigated hazards in the area.
The city also said that an inspection conducted Monday by its engineers found no structural damage to the bridge. However, it said the overall area remains unsafe, and it has mobilized crews to attempt to clear some of the pathway of ice.
It urges anyone wanting to use the pathway to be cautious.