Art on water latest idea for orphaned bridge footings

A Kamloops resident who drives across Overlanders Bridge every day has an idea for all that remains of the span’s predecessor to the west.

Rosalind Downey wants to see the city commission an artist to create murals on concrete footings that remain in the Thompson River from the bridge that connected the north and south shores before the Overlanders Bridge replaced the North Kamloops Bridge in 1961.

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“I just thought that would be really neat,” Downey told KTW.

Downey suggested the paintings could have local themes and feature prominently in the city’s landscape. She said creations could be done when the water is at its lowest level, so when the river rises, the murals would change.

“I come from east Vancouver and there’s just murals everywhere there and I feel like the city could be a lot prettier,” Downey said.

Coun. Donovan Cavers brought the idea to a recent city council meeting, connecting Downey with city staff to further the conversation.

“I love innovative ideas and creative ideas about how to make the community more livable and more vibrant,” Cavers said, noting his role is to act as a conduit between the city and community.

It’s not the first time someone has had an idea for the concrete footings.

Conversation has taken place ever since the North Kamloops Bridge (also known as the Black Bridge) was shut down following construction of Overlanders Bridge.

The North Kamloops Bridge was built in 1925 at a cost of $238,000 and remained in operation until 1961, though it wasn’t torn down until more than a decade later.

City of Kamloops chief administrative officer David Trawin said the Ministry of Transportation first tried to remove the footings from the river before the job was deemed too large. One of the footings has marks that show where workers tried to chip away the concrete.

Other ideas over the years have included building a pedestrian bridge across the footings and using the remnants for other public artwork.

Trawin noted barriers include costs and impacts of getting paint in the river, which could draw the ire of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

As it stands, the footings will remain as they are — complete with words of encouragement for the Kamloops Blazers.

“There’s nothing in any city plans,” Trawin said.

© 2018 Kamloops This Week

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