The Missing Link gets Missing Funding

By John Dance

Thanks to last week’s commitment from Ottawa Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi, the Fifth-Clegg footbridge will be fully funded by the provincial, federal and municipal governments and construction will begin this fall on this vital link in the city’s east-west walking and cycling network.

Pledging $5 million, Attorney General Naqvi followed through on his longstanding endorsement of the new link between the Glebe and Old Ottawa East.

The announcement follows Ottawa Centre MP Catherine McKenna’s promise of $10.5 million for the bridge. The consequence of the two senior levels of government providing funding is that the city’s funding requirement will be about $6 million.

Mr. Naqvi – in the company of Ms McKenna, Mayor Jim Watson and Councillor David Chernushenko – made the announcement on Friday to the cheers of footbridge advocates who have long lobbied for what they affectionately call the “Midtown” bridge.

“Building a bridge to connect our communities will improve the quality of life for our neighbours by encouraging environmentally friendly transportation, improving the accessibility of our city, and ultimately connecting people and building stronger communities,” Mr. Naqvi wrote eight years ago.

Bridge advocates at the announcement noted the footbridge will promote healthy transportation and will be much safer than the existing Bank and Pretoria bridges.
The push for a bridge at Fifth and Clegg – the midpoint of the two kilometers of Canal between Bank and Pretoria - goes back a century when, as a condition for the amalgamation of Ottawa East with Ottawa, a bridge was to be built.

Over the last decade a multi-community advocacy group has campaigned for a footbridge at Fifth-Clegg. Nine community associations, five school councils and numerous other groups endorsed the idea

“Just as the Corktown footbridge serves many people beyond Centretown and Sandy Hill, the new Fifth-Clegg footbridge will benefit many beyond the Glebe, OOE and OOS,” said Chris Osler of the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre, one of the many organizations to endorse the new bridge.

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