Bridge collapse into Necoslie River raises concerns

A private bridge over the Necoslie River collapsed on July 16, but still was not removed over a week later.

A private bridge over the Necoslie River collapsed on July 16, but still was not removed over a week later.

The bridge was connecting property on opposite sides of the river owned by Canyon Tree Farms, and was made of timbers preserved with creosote, creating concern for neighbours.

A Work Safe BC investigation into the bridge collapse because one man was injured when it occurred, meant the structure had to stay in place until the site investigation was completed, which a Work Safe BC investigator said on July 26 he believed had been done.

While checking on cows in a neighbouring field, Murray Hill saw the collapsed structure in the river, and said the area downstream at the time was “reeking” of creosote.

Hill helps manage cattle drinking from the river just downstream of the collapsed structure and was concerned for the potential effects of the creosote in the water if it was to stay there much longer.

Hill was frustrated with the lack of action by government in getting the bridge out of the water as soon as possible.

He tried to phone numbers at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and the local Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

It was not until he contacted Joanne Vinnedge at the Ministry of Environment he received a response from someone in government, which he appreciated and said it shows she actually cares.

“I think the biggest thing here is this is a fish-bearing stream,” said Hill.

The Necoslie River runs into the Stuart River right where the Stuart runs out of Stuart Lake. Both rivers support a variety of different fish species.

Bridge and property owner Harry Hooke said while the collapse was being investigated he could not discuss the collapse but called it an “unfortunate incident” and said the bridge will be dealt with when it was released back into his control.

“You can’t move anything until they give you clearance to move it,” said Hooke.

He said there is no real threat to the river as the bridge had been over a river for thirty years before he put it in over the Necoslie, and it was not a concern then. Hooke also emphasized the current low flow of the river through the area at this time.

According to the Work Safe BC investigator, the bridge would be released within a matter of days back to the owner and could then be dealt with by the owner.

Hooke said he planned to remove it as soon as this happened.

The investigator also said a complaint had been filed to the Ministry of Environment and Environment Canada.

The Ministry of Environment did not return calls prior to press time.