Letter: The swing bridge is as iconic as the Eiffel Tower or the Taj Mahal

Granted on a smaller scale

To the Expositor:

Everywhere you look: advertising, logos, sweatshirts, thousands of gorgeous photographs (hardly an exaggeration), the Swing Bridge figures. It is as iconic to this Island as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris, as the Taj Mahal is to India. Granted on a smaller scale, but still.

It is hard to fathom the possibility that this symbol of the Island could be taken apart and removed. Surely not.

Speaking of major tourist attractions, where is the discussion of Manitoulin’s vision for tourism? Many, many world-famous sites and entire cities are being destroyed by too many tourists. People must buy tickets in advance to view almost anything. (For a more “to scale” example, think of the Blue Grotto in Tobermory). No one wants to stifle the tourist trade, far from it, but increasing accessibility to the Manitoulin will make a difference that is not being considered. Much (most?) of the charm of the Island is the slower way of life, and the lack of such citified things as franchises. How many times have you heard visitors say, ‘When we cross that Bridge, life slows down and we breathe a sigh of relief.’

Do we want to share our Island? Of course we do. Do we want crowds at the Cup and Saucer or Bridal Veil Falls to destroy the very thing they came to enjoy? Likely not.

The explanation for why the swing bridge cannot be repaired for once and for all (or for another 100 years) was never given. It seems it was never an option, but in the way of the political, it was made to seem like an option for a while, until it wasn’t. The firms that stand to make a lot of money from a new construction appear to be reluctant to consider the “fix” option.

The mayor of Gore Bay noted that the visual impact of a new bridge could be considerable but that, because there are already giant windmills and hydro corridors, one more thing won’t matter (my interpretation). I, for one, would object to this way of thinking, and hope that the visual impact of any change would be of utmost importance.

People need to consider the big picture and what a slick new bridge will do to traffic patterns, and how, once we have given up the history and culture and instant recognition of the iconic swing bridge, we will never be able to get it back.

Willa Wilson