The Town of The Blue Mountains (TBM) council has approved a temporary renaming of its historic trestle bridge.
For one year, the bridge will be named ‘The Bridge of Kindness,’ in light of the issues wrought by the pandemic.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 13, which coincides with World Kindness Day.
The approval came after Palma Barbieri, of the Thornsbury-Clarksburg Rotary Club, suggested the idea in a deputation to council Oct. 4.
She argued that acts of kindness are particularly important after what the community has been through over the course of the pandemic, and that renaming the bridge is a good method for placing kindness in people’s minds.
“Over the past 18 months COVID-19 cases, deaths, and restrictions have caused much suffering, stress and anxiety in our community and around the globe,” Barbieri said.
“Our club believes it's important to encourage our community to put kindness at the forefront of their minds, because everyone's overall well-being benefits greatly from kindness. Everyone thinks of kindness as benefiting the receiver, but research has shown that repeated acts of kindness decrease pain, stress, anxiety, depression, and blood pressure, while increasing the happiness and the lifespan of the giver.”
Along with the name change, commemorative signs and flags will decorate the bridge.
Barbieri suggested renaming the historic trestle bridge due to the amount of use it receives from residents and visitors.
“We do believe the trestle bridge is the most appropriate site for such a commemoration, because it does symbolize the community through its year-round use by residents and visitors alike,” she said. “It provides not only a place to engage in physical activities, but it also provides a space for increased emotional, mental and spiritual well being because of the picturesque environment surrounding it.”
Council unanimously supported the idea.
In order to approve the renaming, however, council had to waive the Town Facility Naming Policy, which would have required a staff report and public consultation prior to approval.
“We're not tearing down a bridge - we're actually temporarily renaming the bridge for the sake of the community,” Councillor Peter Bordignon said. “And I think that's something that we can move forward with clearing that red tape out of the way.”
“I think we’re kind to everyone if we don’t ask for needless paper,” Mayor Alar Soever said, referring to the extra work staff would normally perform under the naming policy.
The renaming of the bridge is part of Thornsbury-Clarksburg Rotary Club’s year-long initiative to promote kindness in the community.
Since July, the club has engaged the community through social media, art competitions, monthly guest speakers, and more, with the aim of fostering kindness in the community.
“Our aim with the initiative is to challenge ourselves, as well as our community to fully understand and embrace all that kindness is, and we feel it's important because of the unique and challenging circumstances that we're currently living in,” Barbieri said.
The trestle bridge is located on the Georgian Trail between Bruce Street North and Mill Street, behind town hall.
Greg McGrath-Goudie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca