Saturday’s celebration of the new Craigflower Bridge, in all of its near-finished splendor, was a good community building exercise.
The Town of View Royal, faced with trying to schedule provincial and federal dignitaries in advance when the full opening date of the bridge was a floating target, had to pick a date and went forward with the plan.
Pedestrians have been enjoying the wider boardwalk-like walkway across the bridge for a few weeks now, but vehicle access, the primary reason for replacing the old span, won’t go ahead until everything is safe.
Saanich, the smaller municipality’s larger civic partner in the project, chose not to attend the celebration, preferring to wait to do anything – and perhaps nothing – until the bridge is fully open for vehicle, bicycle and foot traffic.
Was this a case of the little guy doing a bit of grandstanding and trying to upstage the big dog? Perhaps.
But consider the fact View Royal is home to the majority of merchants who have suffered through the vehicle access headaches that have been present in the area since the old bridge closed last April. We’re not surprised Mayor Graham Hill and the township staff were anxious to trumpet some good news to them for the first time in a while.
As for Saanich, Mayor Frank Leonard and his crew, to our experience, aren’t ones to blow their own horn. The pragmatic longtime mayor doesn’t mince words, either, and pointed out publicly last week that not only was the decision to hold a party of sorts made by View Royal alone, the timing of the event might confuse people waiting for the bridge to be fully open.
Nonetheless, he appears satisfied simply to see the bridge opened to vehicles when it’s safe to do so.
Any political machinations relating to the project aside, the bottom line is it will soon be open and area residents and commuters will move forward with the new bridge era.