The Yellowknife Rotary True North Club has almost finished building a new bridge at the Back Bay Cemetery as the old one threatened to become unusable.
Michael Kalnay, project leader for the new bridge, said: “The True North Rotary has been maintaining Back Bay Cemetery for quite a number of years and the old bridge got wrecked and pushed into the water.
“So we needed a new one and we just got to work on designing and building a new bridge.”
Kalnay says Rotary True North has been in charge of maintaining Back Bay Cemetery since the beginning of the club. Previously, the task had fallen to the Yellowknife Scouts and the Rotary Club of Yellowknife.
Rotarians working on the new bridge in April. Photo: Yellowknife Rotary True North
“One of our strategic directions for the club is Yellowknife heritage. The other one would be our seniors and our youth,” he said. “So that’s a good heritage project and something that needed doing.
“Our club is a hands-on club, we like to get out and do something once a month instead of having a regular meeting in a room somewhere. The cemetery provides us an opportunity for a couple of trips down in the summer to do maintenance and cut the grass and so on.”
The new bridge is a 65-foot long, 10-foot high steel suspension bridge. Kalnay says it has taken 1,400 hours of volunteer time and around $100,000 in materials.
Construction on the bridge started in the early fall of 2019. The club held its final work meeting for the project last Thursday.
“We have to finish up the nice benches we’re going to have at each end, so you can sit there and admire the thing of beauty that we built,” said Kalnay.
“We’ve got to hang our big Rotary wheel from the top of the bridge and we have to put up a couple of plaques to thank the people who donated so generously to make the project happen.”
The club is planning a grand opening in August, which will also celebrate 50 years of Rotary in Yellowknife.
The new bridge at Back Bay Cemetery in May. Photo: Yellowknife Rotary True North