The Kettle Island Bridge project has been scuttled. When the NCC, and the provinces of Ontario and Quebec had announced that they had, finally, chosen a location for a new bridge, it was a little hard to believe. The talk of an eastern bridge has been lingering for as long as I can remember, literally. But never were there signs of much progress.
Until this past month, when the finally decided: a bridge at Kettle Island made the most sense. It made sense for traffic, for environmental concerns and for cost. It wasn’t an easy call. Every potential location has drawbacks, and every potential location has residents ready to complain.
Unfortunately, shortly after participating in the selection process, the Ontario government reneged. It strains credulity to believe anything other than NIMBYism caused the policy reversal.
There’s no clear answer as to which proposed location for a bridge would be best. An honest debate can exist. What there is no debate about is the need for another bridge. King Edward is abused each and every day, with thousands of trucks cutting through downtown Ottawa. King Edward has become a scar in the city. It bisects a neighbourhood, making an artificial barrier between Lowertown and the Market.
In the Ottawa Sun, Ron Corbett reports on how this decision has deflated the hope of many Lowertown residents:
There have been some dark rumblings in Lowertown since the bridge proposal was killed. People openly saying affluent communities like Manor Park and Rockliffe were given special treatment. Chosen for government protection over the working-class neighbourhood of Lowertown.
Others wonder if anyone in power really wants to solve the problem. Or instead, has Lowertown become a blank page for urban planners, a non-existent community where they are free to do whatever they want. Live out any dream.
Can there be any doubt that residents of Lowertown just don’t mean as much to the provincial government?