Cherryvale, N.B. residents rally to have bridge replaced
Published Saturday, April 14, 2018 6:33PM ADT
Last Updated Saturday, April 14, 2018 6:34PM ADT
Over 100 people gathered in the rural community of Cherryvale, New Brunswick on Saturday. Cherryvale lost its covered bridge in a flood four years ago, and residents are still fighting to bridge the gap.
The signs varied, but the message was consistent.
"We just want the same privileges other people have," says organizer Donna Black.
Black has been fighting to restore the missing link that once spanned the Canaan River.
Four years ago the Cherryvale covered bridge was swept away by flood waters. The lumber was salvaged but the bridge was never replaced. Protestors say the lack of replacement shows a lack of respect for rural New Brunswick.
"We pay a lot of taxes all over rural New Brunswick, and we are seeing our services decline," says Perry Black.
This week the transportation minister announced millions of dollars to replace a bridge in Coles Island and paving projects in the Hampton area. Bill Fraser says the previous government decided not to replace the Cherryvale Bridge, and he's seen nothing to change his mind.
"The decision was made by people long before I was the transportation minister that the structure wouldn't be replaced and I’m sticking with that decision. Having said that, I am willing to go meet with the residents if they have other concerns about roads in the area," says Transportation Minister Bill Fraser.
Residents say they have asked Fraser to meet them numerous times, with no success.
"Respect the taxpayers, respect the community, respect rural New Brunswick, come to the community and meet, it's not hard!" says Perry Black.
Residents feel they could have benefitted from the federal government's disaster financial assistance program, since they lost their bridge in a natural disaster.
Cherryvale often faces heavy flooding and without the bridge, residents say they have no way out.
"We have no way in or no way out, like the only way in for us, on our side, when we are flooded, is by helicopter or boat," says Donna Black.
In a matter of days, residents gathered 2000 names on a petition. Area MLA Ross Wetmore has promised to bring it forward, with little optimism.
"This government won't listen, but my job is to bring my constituents forward and that's what I’m going to do," says Wetmore, MLA for the riding of Gagetown Pedicodiac.
Demonstrators hope their new sign will resonate with decision makers andh bridge the gap in their community.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Mary Cranston.