N.B. residents fighting to have Cherryvale covered bridge restored

Residents in Cherryvale, N.B., are continuing their fight to bridge the gap where an historic bridge once stood.

“I just assumed when a bridge went out, a bridge went back in automatically. I didn’t know we’d have to fight for it,” says area resident Donna Black.

Black has been advocating for the restoration of the missing link that once spanned the Caanan River.

Four years ago, the Cherryvale covered bridge was swept away by floodwaters. The lumber was salvaged, but the bridge was never replaced.

In a matter of days, residents have gathered 1,000 names on a petition to have the bridge replaced.

“We have never come across anybody yet who refuses to sign our petition,” says Black. “We have 100 per cent support.”

Other residents say the lack of a replacement is a symptom of a bigger issue.

“We’re talking about, here’s a rural community… we had a very bad event. We’re trying to make things better, but at the same time, we’re trying to express our position that all rural New Brunswick needs help,” says Perry Black.

Transportation Minister Bill Fraser announced $3 million dollars in paving projects in the Hampton area Thursday.

Fraser says the previous government decided not to replace the covered bridge and he’s seen nothing to change his mind.

“The decision was made by people long before I was the transportation minister that that structure wouldn’t be replaced and I’m sticking with that decision… having said that, I am willing to go meet with the residents if they have other concerns about roads in the area,” Fraser says.

Perry Black says residents are mobilizing and hundreds are expected to rally at the former bridge site this Saturday.

“It isn’t the money…the money’s not the issue, it’s the will of the government to not want to do this, and we think that’s a rural New Brunswick deal.”

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron

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