Cliff Gilker's big loss

A huge wind storm ripped through the Sunshine Coast on April 2nd, for many trees in the area it's wasn't a very good friday. Roads were closed temporarily, many folks went without power for awhile and many others had a big cleanup job ahead of them. No place suffered as huge a loss as Cliff Gilker Park. One of the last of the classic bridges was taken out by a huge fir tree that came down arrcoss one end of it.

This bridge, along with many others, was built decades ago as part of a province wide work project created by the then NDP government to both employ folks in every region during tough times and use that energy to create recreational facilities for us all to enjoy for many years to come. It was a great idea, i knew many of the people who worked on the building and upgrading of trails and the construction of many unique and beautiful bridges throughout the park.

Times were tough here then, the logging and fishing industries who had employed many people and kept many famlies alive were shedding workers every month. The banks and corporations had recently figured out that machines didn't take lunch breaks, didn't form unions and never complained. Inappropriate technology replaced human hands, capital replaced people and the souls of our rural communities were gutted. As usual the rich ruled and the working class drooled. But again, as usual, i digress.

The trails and bridges at Cliff Gilker Park were built by the hands of hardworking local people. They were built as much as possible from the materials close at hand. The effect of using materials in the immediate vacinity was that the bridges fit into their surrounding perfectly, they fit into the culture of the community and each structure was unique.

Now another of these legacy bridges has met its match. The Regional District is now in charge of the area. They've got consultants, lawyers and all kinds of experts so they'll probably come up with a totally different solution than the x-loggers and craftsmen who built the original out of the materials that surrounded them. My suggestion would be to use local hands and energy to replace our fallen friend with a new structure that also reflects the forest and community around it. My idea would be to use the giant fir tree that the big wind provided to rebuild the spam. After all there it is, move it a few yards, strip off the bark, rip it in two, reuse the lumber that has served as a walkway, maybe find a few more curved cedars to mold into railings, rebuild the stairs and celebrate a new-old bridge rebuilt by local hands for all to use and enjoy.