New hand-painted signs bearing messages like “don’t give up” and “you will not feel this way forever” have appeared on the High Level Bridge.
No one knows who is responsible for the signs, which also have the phone number for a 24-hour distress line.
The century-old bridge sits 47 metres above the North Saskatchewan River, and has been the site of many suicides over the years.
‘The High Level Bridge is a well known landmark and it’s a beautiful landmark,” Jodie Mandick of the Crisis Support Centre.
“In similar ways to how people are drawn to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, it can have that draw.”
The city is now installing phones that link directly to a distress line and 911 at either end of the bridge. Council is also considering four options for barriers to be installed along the pedestrian walkways.
The proposals range in cost from $1.2 million for a plain chain link fence to $7.4 million for a barrier made of vertical stainless steel tension cables.
Mayor Don Iveson said that a number of factors will have to be considered in evaluating the designs.
“What are appropriate measures in a balance between trying to help preserve the integrity of the bridge, the sight lines, the enjoyment people have of it today but also secure it against the spur of the moment decisions people unfortunately make on that structure,” he said.
Mandick supports the plan for a barrier but she says more needs to be done.
“A larger conversation that I'd like to see the city having is suicide prevention and how do we prevent people from getting to the bridge in the first place,” she said.
In the meantime, people say the little handpainted signs could help someone in their moment of need.