Letter: Regular Island visitor sees little issue with bridge opening times

“If it ain’t broke why fix it?”

To the Expositor:

So, the Little Current swing bridge debate has started up again. The debate being whether or not to change from an hourly opening to every two hours. Of course the actual total volumes of both boat traffic and vehicular traffic will remain just about the same. A two hour opening for boat traffic may cause an extended bottling up of vehicular traffic as the volume of boats being roughly twice as many boats that would have waited for the one hour opening now could take about twice as long to pass.

Having visited the beautiful Island of Manitoulin and community for over 50 years I cannot really see an issue of the current practice. Of course there can be times of exceptional traffic volumes that can cause the odd extended hold up but I have never experienced that happening.

Of course there is the cost/benefit arguments for a larger bridge or even a tunnel. Both would be extremely costly beyond all reason and are fraught with some technical challenges, too.

When it comes to travel, logic rarely enters the discussion. We hear of Islanders making a Costco trip to Sudbury of all places. I often wonder why. My observation is that you can buy anything on the Island that you can buy at Costco and often at a better price and without a 100 mile drive. And you don’t have to drive to Espanola anymore for a Tim Horton’s fix—I guess it’s a matter of taste over necessity. Of course most people understand the bridge schedule—except the odd poor soul who fails to factor in the Little Current bridge when they have a booking for the last run of the Chi-Cheemaun. 

There is great merit in the iconic Little Current bridge. It can be a source of delight for the children to watch the boats pass followed by their mad dash back to the car before the bridge starts its swing for the roadway to open. It is also an opportunity to perhaps reset one’s thoughts and reflections about an impending vacation and the visit to an enchanting piece of the world or the wonderful experiences and memories of a great the recent vacation, and the new and olds friends encountered.

So remember, “if it ain’t broke why fix it?” No matter how much time is spent on interminable meetings, the Little Current bridge is what it is—an enduring emblem of many of the nice things that do exist in our troubled world.

Lionel Rudd