Get the lead out
Council to spend $3.7M to
repair, repaint CPR bridge
reprinted from Red Deer
Advocate (Crystal Rhyno) November 25, 2015
The CPR bridge will be getting a paint job.
Calling the bridge an environmental hazard, council approved $3.7
million in spending to remove the lead paint, give it a recoat and
make repairs to the municipal historic resource in 2016 on Tuesday's
capital budget debate.
Council heard that lead from the paint on the supporting structure
and steel trusses are flaking and falling into the river,
potentially affecting the overall health of the river.
But the decision was not taken lightly as council did not want the
bridge to become a "Green Onion" where members of the community
balked at the city spending $750,000 to re-paint the water tower.
Most councillors stressed it is not about "making the bridge pretty"
but out of concern for public safety and the Red Deer River.
City manager Craig Curtis said there are financial and health risks
in delaying the project. He said approving the project this year
would be the most cost efficient.
Mayor Tara Veer said the community fought to keep this heritage
resource in the 1990s.
"Once we know there is a risk to public health and safety, we have a
responsibility to react," said Veer.
Coun. Paul Harris said the bridge has become part of the community's
"To suggest that we wait is an example of borrowing from our future
to pay for our present," he said. "We have an ethical obligation now
that we know there is going to be lead in the river."
Coun. Tanya Handley did not vote in favour but she shared the
concern about "lead is falling in the river." She said there needs
to be more communication with the public about the necessity of the
project before she could support it.
Coun. Lawrence Lee voted in support after unsuccessfully arguing to
defer the paint remediation to another budget cycle in order to get
a better price on the project.
Councillors Frank Wong and Buck Buchanan were also opposed.
The paint job and repairs are expected to extend the life of the
bridge for another 40 years.
News articles related to Calgary & Edmonton Railway / Canadian
Pacific in Central Alberta:
News article: Penhold man remembers day of the
(Innisfail Province Dec.2013)
article: Help add a little history to Arches project
(Red Deer Advocate Sep.2009)
article: Historic significance of concrete obelisk preserved in
mural (Red Deer Advocate Oct.2008)
News article: A new face for the old
(Red Deer Life July 1996)
Railway Bridges of Central Alberta
Calgary and Edmonton Railway (CPR)
Calgary and Edmonton Railway at Red Deer (CPR)
Downtown Red Deer Ground Transportation Themes
Railway Icons of City of Red Deer
Rise and Fall of Passenger Rail in the C&E Corridor
3001 'The Chinook'
History of Railway Structures Used in Central Alberta
Michael Dawe articles related to Calgary & Edmonton Railway /
Canadian Pacific Railway Bridge now 100 years old
(Red Deer Advocate June 2009)
Red Deer becomes a divisional point for CPR
(Red Deer Advocate Special March 2007)