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Red Rock readies infrastructure for busy times ahead

Ongoing developments in business in Red Rock mean a greater focus on infrastructural improvements
Red Rock
Township of Red Rock on Lake Superior (Supplied)

RED ROCK — The daily commute is set to look a little different for residents of the township of Red Rock over the next few weeks.

Work is scheduled to begin on the bridge leading into town on Highway 628 and continue until about Dec. 4, with intermittent bridge closures between now and then.

Dates for the bridge closures were suggested by the project engineer and contractor.

“The bridgework is actually ongoing,” said township chief administrative officer Mark Filgiomeni. “There’s a lot of construction underneath the bridge, so for this particular project you’re not going to see a lot on the upper level. All the work is happening underneath on some bracing.”

With the first scheduled closure starting Wednesday, November 29, residents should expect the bridge to remain closed for at least three days.

While the bridge is closed, residents will be re-routed via the community Exit Road.

“It’s an old timber bridge — probably about an 80-year-old timber bridge,” Figliomeni said. “A lot of [the work] is into the stabilization of the foundation of that bridge.”

Stressing the necessity of the work being done on the bridge, Figliomeni estimated that the project will ultimately cost around $250,000.

“It’s essential,” Figliomeni said. “The bridge is old, it’s decaying, it’s deteriorating. The township needs a new bridge, there’s no doubt about that. We’re… lobbying the government at every chance that we can get to get that new bridge.”

“This, hopefully, puts a little bit of life into it and buys us that time we need to be able to pay for that new bridge.”

And, in terms of finances, work on the bridge is — at least in part — being funded by the provincial government.

Figliomeni noted that the township qualified for funding through the Northern Ontario Resource Development Support program.

According to the provincial government’s website, the program is specifically aimed at alleviating some of the “unique” challenges that northern communities face and will provide “up to $15 million annually over five years” to support infrastructure-related projects.

Red Rock is currently in the midst of a number of developments, infrastructural improvements, and strategic partnerships including upgrades to the recreation centre and ongoing work at the old Norampac mill site with BMI Group, the Red Rock Indian Band, and Rock Tech Lithium.

Additionally, BMI Group is the process of renovating of a large property at 6 Baker Road into eleven, two-bedroom apartments.

A public meeting will be held on Dec. 12 at 4 p.m. to consider BMI Group’s application to have the property re-zoned which will allow the issuance of building permits legally required to complete the renovation work.

Figliomeni alluded to all of the action happening in Red Rock, the “exciting possibilities” ahead, and emphasized that in order to support these projects and realize those “possibilities,” the township needs to “secure” its infrastructure to handle what comes next.