Plans are progressing for the construction of a footbridge over the Hespler Drain in Plum Coulee.

COVID-19 put a pause on fundraising for the project. But with businesses rebounding from pandemic restrictions, planning committee member June Letkeman says fundraising efforts have been jump-started. A recent raffle raised $3000 and the distribution of sponsorship letters netted a sizable donation from K Block Developments, a Winkler-based business.

Two years ago, the committee received a letter from the province requesting a hydrology study. With plans to place bridge piers on the berm, Letkeman says they feel the study is unnecessary.

“So far we have $45,000 in our bank account, which is awesome. We would really love not to have to spend that money on the study. We feel it is unnecessary because we are not touching the water, we are going over it. And we will not be disturbing any fish or anything that’s in that creek.”

Project engineers, Kyle and Justin Wiebe, met recently with officials from Natural Resources and Manitoba Infrastructure on site to talk about the bridge layout.

“That meeting went very,” says Letkeman.

“Our budget is $430,000. We’re hoping to be able to get a bridge built, with a steel span six feet wide, wide enough for scooters and wheelchairs. We’re hoping the bridge itself will cost around $325,000. The problem is the long span needed, about one-hundred thirty feet. That’s why the cost is so high.“

Letkeman describes the footbridge as a necessity, adding she’s pleased with the support shown by the local and surrounding communities.