many "volunteers of the month" worked on mavis' trail bridge project
The Bayfield River Valley Trail Association held the Grand Opening of the Varna Nature Trails mid-day on Jan. 7. Thirty-five people stood on Scott Robeson's Bridge as many others gathered on the steps leading up to it to witness the official naming of the bridge. The engineers behind its construction were all extremely pleased with the bridge's debut. (Photo by Melody Falconer-Pounder)
BY MELODY FALCONER-POUNDER (PHOTOS SUBMITTED)
Dick Peever, of Goderich, his team of four and about a dozen volunteers installed eight piers, some of which went down about 30 feet, using the Ram Jack System.
The volunteers with the Bayfield River Valley Trail Association (BRVTA) have established three walking trails within the village proper since the group was first envisioned in 2006. The Woodland, Heritage and Sawmill Trails have become an integral part of village society. In fact it is hard to remember a time when they weren’t apart of the landscape. So beneficial have these trails proved to local folks that the BRVTA were encouraged to increase trail access within Bluewater by revitalizing two neighboring trails.
The BRVTA Development Team knew that several years ago the Turner and Taylor families were instrumental in building two walking trails at the Stanley Township Recreation Complex in Varna but they had to be abandoned because of maintenance and erosion problems.
Volunteers, Peter Westwood (left) and Peter Darbishire both have backgrounds in technical engineering which was used to great advantage when constructing the bridge. And as evidenced from this photograph, they didn't shy away from the heavy lifting either.
In 2008, during the time while they were actively constructing the Woodland and Sawmill Trails, a group of the BRVTA volunteers went to Varna, explored the old trails and scouted out possible future, lower maintenance trail opportunities.
The Taylor Trail required only a bit of work to return it to a useable state but the Turner Trail, later renamed Mavis’ Trail in honor of the late Mavis Govier (Turner), would require more effort. What to do with one problematic 65-foot ravine (on the 2.5 KM Turner Trail) that had to be somehow bridged was a conundrum for the Trail Development Team. (To learn how these projects began please visit the Bayfield Breeze Vol. 3 Week 2 Issue 131.)
The bridge project alone would take over three years to complete and over 30 community volunteers – almost all of them grandfathers and some of them over 70 years of age - would step in at precisely the right time to help make it happen. When last we left this true tale of daring bridge construction the volunteers were busy carrying and pulling the beams and decking for the 65 foot bridge to the project site beside the gully on Mavis' Trail.
“Then we were told that a bridge wasn't possible on this site!” Dave Gillians, past president of the BRVTA recalled. “The soil around the stream is nothing but thousands of years of vegetation, mulch in other words. It would not support bridge piers. Besides we knew that cement and creosoted logs were out of the question for environmental reasons. The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority also warned us that even if we could use it, heavy construction equipment was out and that we could not disturb the stream in any way. Looked like we were at a dead end.”
It was back to the drawing board for the Trail Development Crew. During a brain storming session, one of the crew, Scott Robeson suggested the Ram Jack System. He had been an executive with Ram Jack Systems in Michigan and he thought that maybe this particular system would work in this situation.
BRVTA President Barry Detenbeck (right) accepted a donation toward the Varna Nature Trails revitalization from Jim Kirton, a supervisor of the Stanley Millennium Fund.
The Ram Jack System incorporates specially coated helical steel piles that are driven into the ground as far as necessary. It had been used in the area before as it was used to repair the walls of the Bayfield Marina a couple of years ago after the spring ice damaged them. It is also used to support buildings in Florida and other areas where regular construction techniques don't work very well. It is very environmentally sound and is the best option when used in a wet environment.
Robeson approached the company and Ram Jack Systems generously donated all of the piers and fabricated brackets that were used to create the bridge piers.
“Now we had a pier system that could be drilled one hundred feet into the ground if necessary but the next obstacle was how to get the specialized equipment to the work site?” said Gillians.
The answer was just a few miles up the road to the north as Dick Peever, owner of Maitland Valley Marina, is the dealer for Ram Jack Systems in this region. Robeson and Dave MacLaren approached Peever about helping with the project.
Volunteer, Dave MacLaren got down to the nuts and bolts of bridge construction.
On a cold and rainy day in March, Peever brought a team of four men and his specialized equipment to the bridge site and with the help of about a dozen trail workers, installed eight piers, some of which went down almost 30 feet. His equipment has a special meter that shows when solid soil has been reached and sufficient resistance is recorded. Once the bridge piers were finally erected Bill Makins and Jim Beatty devised a hoist system to lift the 400 pound beams into place.
“Without the generous support of Ram Jack and Dick Peever, there would be no chance that a bridge could ever be built on this type of trail. They saved the day and because it wouldn't have happened without Scott, we have named the bridge after him. He was also named Trail Development Volunteer of the Month for that one!” said Gillians.
While the volunteers were anxiously waiting to learn if the idea to use the Ram Jack System was going to come to fruition they came upon another obstacle. They were told that they'd have to have proper engineering plans drawn up.
The answer to this roadblock was yet again found among the BRVTA volunteers. Peter Westwood, of Bayfield, has an extensive background in drafting and is an automotive structural engineer. He volunteered to do the bridge design and plans.
“He was the volunteer of the month for that one!” added Gillians.
Philip Keightley came out to the project site with Andrew Bicknell from the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority to reassure him that the plans were sound and that this bridge would work. In the attached photo, note the logs and planks that are ready to be incorporated into the construction process.
The skills of yet a third BRVTA volunteer came into play to overcome the crew’s next challenge.
“We were told that we would require a Civil Engineering firm's approval of our plans and sign off on all bridge work,” said Gillians. “Philip Keightley, vice president and co-owner of BKL Engineering in Sarnia lives in Bayfield. He sometimes helps us out on an off day and he offered to take care of that obstacle.”
Keightley came out to the project site with Andrew Bicknell from the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority to reassure him that the plans were sound and that this bridge would work.
And he too was named volunteer of the month.
“Every time a seemingly insurmountable obstacle was thrown our way, some unanticipated solution came to the rescue. In a way it was magical and unlike anything I've ever experienced in the business world.
“But just as we started winning our technical and bureaucratic battles, we were concerned about money,” said Gillians.
The BRVTA was erecting expensive signage, smaller bridges and boardwalks on the trails and their limited budget was being stretched. The phone couldn’t have rung at a better time.
At the other end of the line was Sandra Turner, who along with Jim Kirton, were the supervisors of the Stanley Millennium Fund. The residents of Varna had raised the money for the ball diamonds and lights at the Stanley Complex and there was still a balance in the account. Turner and Kirton wondered if the BRVTA could use the money for the Varna trails.
“This boosted our morale in two ways. First of all, it reduced our anxiety about having sufficient funds to complete the job and secondly, and perhaps most importantly, it answered a niggling concern that we had since we started this project. Were we perceived as Bayfield people barging into Varna or did we have the support of the community?”
With all the pieces of the puzzle now fitting together it was time to get down to the nuts and bolts of it all – actual construction. It was at that time that another volunteer came along just at the right moment – yet another volunteer of the month recipient.
Peter Darbishire showed up on the scene with the apparatus needed to pull a trailer full of equipment and materials to the job site each work party. Darbishire is a retired engineer who sits on the Board of Directors of the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority Foundation. He had expressed interest in helping the crew two years ago but circumstances had prevented his participation until this critical point in the project.
“Without Darbishire’s support this project would have taken months longer to complete and many, many more chiropractic bills,” said Gillians. “The two Peters - Darbishire and Westwood- with their technical engineering background, made our work so much easier!”
From there the volunteers got down to the actual construction of the bridge - the nuts and bolts of the matter as it were. Each week, the Trail Development Crew never knew how many volunteers would show up but consistently 12-15 workers would be in the Stanley Complex, ready to go, whatever the weather.
“A project of this magnitude completed by professionals would have cost more than the municipality could ever afford and we were proud to be able to pull it off for only a few thousand dollars thanks to the thousands of hours of volunteer time,” said Gillians.
These volunteers understand what the BRVTA is trying to achieve. They want a healthier place to live, they want to be able to enjoy the natural beauty of this area throughout the year and most importantly they want this to be a legacy gift to future generations.
return to sender: canada Post "Question & Answer"
The Bayfield Breeze has received some inquiries as to the new postal procedures that began in the village mid-December. So the Editor sent those questions and some of her own to Canada Post and received the following responses from Tom Creech, from Delivery Operations Communications based in London.
Approx. 325 Bayfield addresses were moved to the new outdoor boxes on John and Elizabeth Streets in mid-December. This has prompted some questions from residents. The Bayfield Breeze went to Canada Post for the answers. (Photo by John Pounder)
Q. How many Bayfield addresses were moved to the new outdoor boxes on John and Elizabeth Streets?
A. Approx. 325 – this is a mixture of customers who were at the postal box centre and some who were on General Delivery at our retail outlet. Customers who were on General Delivery were moved to either Community Mailbox service or to a box at the postal box centre. Some customers who had a box at the postal box centre are now receiving their mail from a Community Mailbox.
Q. How were the locations determined for these boxes?
A. The sites were selected with the assistance of the Town of Bluewater.
Q. It is my understanding that some people have been waiting a considerable amount of time to obtain a post box in the village. Will these people now be given a box in the Main Street office as some space has been created? Or are there plans for more outdoor boxes?
A. We now have enough boxes (either at the Community Mailbox sites or at the postal box centre) in place for our customers and to handle additional growth within a four or five block radius of the village’s centre. Delivery for any new major developments will be handled through Community Mailboxes located near the new growth areas.
Q. Is the creation of the two new locations part of the process of having the Main Street Post Office removed and the new one created within the confines of the planned Library construction?
A. The same number of postal boxes, 545, which are at our current location will remain when the new library/postal box centre complex is built.
Dr. Seuss is reportedly on the loose! All preschoolers are invited to help find Dr. Seuss as part of Family Literacy Day at the Bayfield Library on Main Street.
Moms, Dads, grandparents or caregivers can bring their preschoolers to the library on the afternoon of Jan. 26 and help them find the good doctor. Friends of the Bayfield Library (FOBL) will be on hand from 3-4 p.m. to help the librarian with readings and activities involving Dr Seuss. Children are encouraged to wear something red and bring a red marker or crayon. Cupcakes will be served and there is no need to register.
The FOBL has been created to promote the library as essential to the community’s quality of life. As enthusiastic supporters, FOBL intends to enhance the profile of the Bayfield Library and to advocate for library services and programs. To become a member of the FOBL, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Clair at 519-565-2135.
festival of song
Gail Grant, of Bayfield, would like to inform subscribers that the Aldeburgh Connection's 30th Anniversary Gala is to be held on Feb.19 at 2:30 p.m. at Koerner Hall, Royal Conservatory of Music, in Toronto. She shares that there are still a few tickets left for what looks to be a marvelous concert!
She would also like to remind everyone that if you can't make it to Toronto, brochures for this year's Festival of Song to be held from June 2 to 10 are to be available at Soup's On in February.
The 2012 artists have international careers and the community is so fortunate that Stephen Ralls and Bruce Ubukata have invited them to Bayfield. To whet your appetite: Adrienne Pieczonka,"Canada's leading operatic soprano"; Laura Tucker, mezzo soprano; and Phillip Addis, baritone, of Stratford, who was recently lauded in Paris for his "debut to remember" in Pelleas and Melisande.
This year, for the Bayfield Festival tickets will be available at The Village Bookshop, thanks to owner, Mary Brown's cooperation.
bayfield reads 2012
The very popular Bayfield Reads, held in conjunction with CBC’s Canada Reads, is back for 2012. Those who never miss this event should mark their calendars for Feb. 5 and encourage others to join in the fun. The debate, hosted by The Village Bookshop, will be held at the Bayfield Town Hall starting at 2 p.m. The cost to attend is $5 and tickets can be reserved at the bookshop after Jan. 18.
All those who attend the next most anticipated event at the Bayfield Town Hall will be transported back to the era of the big band when a 1940's style cabaret will be held Feb.11 at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $10. There will be live music and dancing and a cash bar.
For more information and for tickets please call Judy Keightley at 519 565-4515 or Kate LLoyd-Rees at 519 565-4404.
Take Time 2012
January and February days often seem longer than they are short so once again the congregations of the village’s four local churches have joined together to offer an interesting series of programs designed to combat the winter blahs.
The fourth year of the “Take Time in 2012” programs will run from now to Feb. 6. They are a perfect opportunity for friends and neighbors to learn and share with one another.
The programs will be held on Mondays from 1:30-3 p.m. Each participating church will host one event.
In the past a registration coffee has been held to get the program going but this year that has been dispensed with. The cost will be $3 per session.
Want to attend but don’t have the transportation needed to get to the location of the presentation? Rides can be provided, just call the coordinator of that session.
On Jan. 16, the second session will take place at the Bayfield Town Hall, a change of location from the Bayfield Lions’ Community Building as was originally reported. The beauty of exotic flowers will be explored at this session hosted by the Church on Way. “Exotic Orchids made Easy” will be the topic shared by Master Gardeners, Leigh Selk and Sue Beatty. They will share their knowledge of types of Orchids, care, potting techniques and use in flower arrangements. These Master Gardeners emphasize that it is not difficult to learn to encourage repeated long-lasting blooms. The delights of growing Orchids will be further visualized by a 15-minute slide show. The coordinator for this session is Anne Laviolette, she can be contacted by calling 519 565-2454.
The following week, Jan. 23, the Take Time in 2012 programs will take a break to encourage everyone to go to the Bayfield Historical Society Dinner and Annual General Meeting to be held at St. Andrew’s United Church at noon. Tickets are $17 each and can be obtained by calling Pat or Bud Langley at 519 565-2894. Memberships for 2012 may also be obtained though the Langleys for $20.
The guest speaker will be well-known Goderich Optometrist Dr. Dean Nisbett who happens to be an avid and skilled sailor. He will tell those who attend about his wonderful adventures sailing the Atlantic and the Mediterranean and beyond.
On Jan. 30, thoughts will turn to spring rejuvenation when Helen Varkamp of Huron, Hearth and Home, presents the topic, “Spruce Up for Spring” – a new look for your home. This session will be held at St. Andrew’s United Church and Flo Keillor is the contact. For more information she can be reached at 519 565-2640.
The final session will be held on Feb. 6 at Trinity Anglican Church with Kate Lloyd-Rees and Judy Keightley. The duo will share their knowledge on the creation of quick and tasty appetizers. “Small Plates for Sharing” is the topic of this presentation. To learn more contact the session coordinator, Helen Latimer, at 519 565-2792.
Time to start realizing some of those New Year’s resolutions! One Care is sponsoring several programs for both men and women to keep up with their desire to stay fit.
Dancefit and Toning classes are held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 9 a.m. The cost is $40 for four months or $3 per class. The Sit and Get Fit classes are offered on Mondays and Wednesdays at 10:15 a.m. The cost is $1 per class.
Starting on Jan. 20, a new Friday Stretching Class will be offered at 10:15 a.m. for approx. 45 minutes. This class is suitable for everyone and will cost $1. All of these fitness opportunities are held at the Bayfield Community Centre.
For the more adventurous among us, there is Pole Walking. Walks for women are scheduled for Tuesdays and Thursdays while walks for men are held on Monday and Friday mornings All walks begin from 6 Main Street and begin at 8:30 a.m. Poles are provided free for those who require them.
A Yoga Class will be held at the Bayfield Town Hall starting at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays. The cost for is $3 per class and participants are asked to bring a yoga mat. A time of quiet reflection and meditation follows the yoga class starting at 11:15 a.m. All in the community are invited to take part.
Indoor badminton is played on Monday evenings at 7 p.m. at the Varna Complex The cost is $3 each and no experience or equipment is required to play.
Call 519 565-2202 for more information on the above exercise opportunities.
For those people looking to exercise their minds, Women’s Bridge is played every Wednesday at 1 p.m. No partner needed to play the cost is $1.50 per game. For more information call Brenda Blair 519 565-2881.
Mah Jongg games are also offered on the first and third Thursdays of the month starting at 1 p.m. Call 519 565-2468 for more information.
Both Bridge and Mah Jongg are played at the Bayfield Lions’ Community Building.
Huron Ridge Acres would like to invite all in the community to participate in their Winter Walking Program - a terrific way to escape those winter “blahs”. On Tuesdays and Fridays during January, February and March the owners open the greenhouse from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for people to come and walk on the ice-free, snow-free sidewalks. Those who take part can enjoy the smell of things growing, and the sunshine on days when it shines, along with some relaxing background music. There is no charge – it is the Steckle’s way of saying thanks to the community for their support of Huron Ridge.
Are you still curious about ZUMBA? It’s about the way you move, the way you shake, and the way you workout. It’s time to dance and smile 2012 style! Come out and join Jamie for this energized Latin based fitness class on Wednesdays starting at 7 p.m. at the Bayfield Community Centre. The cost is $10 per class. Join the Zumba Bayfield Facebook group page for updates. To learn more contact instructor, Jamie Thomas via email at email@example.com.
Have you heard the news? A new monthly hearing clinic is being established in the village at Pharmasave Michael’s Pharmacy. The next date for the clinic is Jan. 17.
The Kincardine Hearing Clinic will be offering their services on the third Tuesday of every month from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The clinic will offer: hearing aid adjustments and repairs to all makes and models, no cost hearing tests, new prescription of hearing aids, wax removal, hearing aid battery sales as well as hard of hearing assistive devices.
To book an appointment please call The Kincardine Hearing Clinic at 1-855-396-6026.