Boundary Road Swing Bridge

Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Site

March 8, 2024 – Peterborough, ON – After careful consideration, Parks Canada has made the decision not to rebuild the Boundary Road Swing Bridge that formed part of the Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Site. This decision comes after the project experienced ongoing difficulties securing qualified contractors and significant cost increases, which then led to an extensive review that considered public safety, community and municipal considerations, heritage value, visitor experience, and prudent use of taxpayer dollars.

In making important decisions of this kind, Parks Canada draws upon a framework of policies for guidance when considering the role of an asset or group of assets in delivering critical public services and core Parks Canada mandate and programs. Affordability must be reviewed, including immediate investment and long-term lifecycle costs, the potential to rationalize or dispose, alongside benefits to all Canadians. The decision to assess the bridge through this framework also aligns with broader work within Park Canada to review its asset portfolio to ensure it is sustainable and addresses the highest priorities for Canadians within available resources.

In addition to this framework, Parks Canada’s primary concern related to the Trent-Severn Waterway is the requirement to maintain safe navigation and related water management.

As part of this decision, Parks Canada has communicated with local municipalities regarding community needs, particularly emergency services. While Parks Canada understands the absence of the bridge results in a loss of convenience for local residents through the removal of a canal crossing, there are two other bridges crossing the canal in the immediate vicinity both of which are within three kilometres.

While the working assemblage of locks, dams, canal cuts, bridges, and other engineering works is one of the defining elements of the Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Site, the assemblage is more significant than any of the individual structures alone. Historically, in the Lake Simcoe-Balsam Lake section, five swing bridges were located, all built from the same plans, and the nearby Bolsover and Lakeshore Swing Bridges provide an opportunity for the visiting public to experience this type of bridge technology.

Parks Canada will be taking steps to decommission the site permanently and ensure that it is made safe. Parks Canada also continues to collaborate with local municipalities and has contacted Canada Post to mitigate local impacts of not replacing the bridge. We thank members of the surrounding communities for their patience and understanding.

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