Sicamous mayor Terry Rysz (right) and North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold (left) display cheques on March 9 totalling $4.8 million in grant money that will go towards replacing the Sicamous-Solsqua bridge as well as a flood mitigation project. (Jodi Brak/Salmon Arm Observer)

Sicamous receives $4.8 million in grant funding for infrastructure projects

Money marked for replacement of Sicamous-Solsqua bridge and flood mitigation

Originally built in the 1920’s, the Sicamous-Solsqua bridge is an important connection for traffic in the community. Being the only bridge within town limits that connects one side of the Eagle River with the other, it is part of many people’s daily commute. Coming close to its 100th anniversary, however, the bridge has seen better days and is reported to be nearing the end of its lifespan.

Related: Grant sought for Sicamous-Solsqua bridge replacement

Fittingly, then, is the announcement which came March 9 that the town of Sicamous will be the recipient of $4.5 million in grant money to go towards replacement of the bridge. This funding will be provided by the Federal Gas Tax Fund, which takes money from taxes on gasoline and redistributes it to provinces, it is then granted to municipalities to support infrastructure projects like this.

Sicamous mayor Terry Rysz says, “this is an important connection within our community, and what would we be doing without it?”

Indeed, a significant portion of the local population lives in an area that requires use of the bridge to cross the river into Sicamous and access the Trans-Canada Highway.

Related: District plans for bridge replacement

A sizeable residential and commercial development is in progress and this bridge is the only access point from within town. This means the bridge will only be seeing more and more traffic in the future and much of this traffic could be commercial vehicles.

“The north side (of Sicamous) is going to be building up, some of the concerns are about agriculture equipment that travels along this way, we have a plant over there that builds all kinds of different components as well, so it’s a commercial driver. And there are a lot of people that are on the north side of the river, about 30 per-cent of our population,” Rysz says.

For a small town like Sicamous, this type of up-front federal grant funding comes as a welcome bit of recognition for the area, it also shows the federal and provincial governments recognize that funding large infrastructure projects such as this are extremely difficult for towns without a significant tax base.

“Well I mean this is absolutely crucial to the community, we have about 3,000 people in this community and to have this kind of assistance from both federal and provincial branches of government is absolutely huge for us,” Rysz says. “In recent years this responsibility has been downloaded on the communities, so its pretty unique for us to get this opportunity.”

MP for North Okanagan-Shuswap Mel Arnold says, “without a large residential or commercial tax base smaller communities just can’t afford a project like this. This bridge is a fairly significant artery in and out of town, to have the ability to improve that, to increase the pull of commerce and tourism through the community, is a big asset to Sicamous.”

Also announced on March 9 is $300,000 in additional grant funding which will go towards an upcoming flood mitigation project.

The money will go towards research, engineering and building of a dual-purpose walkway along the Eagle River which will also serve to prevent any flood waters from moving into the town centre.

Rysz and Arnold both compared this walkway to the famous Malecon walkway in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, a world-renowned tourist attraction. Similar to the sea-wall in Vancouver, the raised walkway also serves as a sort of dam which prevents rising water from flowing over the banks.

Now that the grant money is in the bank, planning and construction of the new bridge and walkway projects can move ahead. Mayor Rysz says, looking ahead, the idea of creating local jobs out of this project is something that is on his mind and the town of Sicamous will be lobbying to make that happen.



Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Sicamous mayor Terry Rysz (right) and North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold (left) display cheques on March 9 totalling $4.8 million in grant money that will go towards replacing the Sicamous-Solsqua bridge as well as a flood mitigation project. (Jodi Brak/Salmon Arm Observer)

The Sicamous-Solsqua bridge has stood across the Eagle River for close to 100 years. Recent examination has shown it is nearing the end of its lifespan, which means its replacement is coming at a fortunate time. (Lachlan Labere/Eagle Vally News)

Just Posted

Traffic stop in Malakwa leads to arrests

Three in custody suspected of jewellery theft

Update: Drugs suspected in armed robbery with fake police lights

Stolen motorhome located, information requested on North Shuswap robbery, police impersonation.

Suspected overdose, poisoning calls jump in Okanagan

BCEHS statistics show calls rose last year in Kelowna, Penticton and Vernon

Update: Vehicle flips several times after hitting semi

Police say Chevrolet Cobalt struck side of transport truck, driver’s injuries not life-threatening

Salmon Arm celebrates Natalie Wilkie’s Paralympic performance

Community is welcomed to attend downtown parade and recognition ceremony at city hall

Vancouver Aquarium’s resident octopus released into ocean

Staff let the Giant Pacific octopus go into the waters near Bowen Island so she can reproduce

Ontario father grief stricken over murder of ex-wife and children

‘No words to explain,’ grieving father of slain teens says in statement

Russian Embassy calls Trudeau’s criticism of Putin unproductive

The Russian Embassy is firing back at Trudeau for criticizing President Vladimir Putin

Murder charge upgraded for man accused in Toronto gay village death

Man accused the death of a woman in the Toronto gay village had charge upgraded after new evidence

Former NHL player Theo Fleury visits B.C. First Nations community

Abuse survivor Theo Fleury has been working with communities focusing on healing since 2009 and visited Esketemc First Nation in the Cariboo this week.

A B.C. council takes action in wake of former municipal politician’s sentencing

Dave Murray was sentenced to nine months for a sexual assault that occurred 26 years ago.

Nifty Fifty Bonspiel

Twenty-six teams attended the successful Provincial Nifty Fifty Bonspiel held March 15-18 in Chase.

Column: There’s a book in there somewhere

Without really having given it much thought, I suppose I resigned myself… Continue reading

Editorial: Starting spring with a shared goal

It’s no secret that the weather just isn’t what it used to… Continue reading

Most Read