Woolwich's 'kissing' bridge landscape spared from gravel pit

The landscape surrounding Ontario's last remaining covered bridge, in West Montrose, will stay as-is for the foreseeable future, says the Township of Woolwich. Capital Paving's application to open a gravel pit nearby has been closed.

Capital Paving will have to start new application from scratch

The covered bridge in West Montrose is 60 meters long and is the only remaining covered bridge in Ontario. (Hermann Luyken/Wikimedia Commons)

The landscape surrounding Ontario's last remaining covered bridge will stay unchanged for the foreseeable future, says the Township of Woolwich.

The municipality has closed Capital Paving's application to open an gravel pit within 180 metres of the West Montrose covered bridge — also known as "The Kissing Bridge."

The company had applied to rezone the area, 500 metres west of Katherine Street North to allow for an aggregate pit but their application has been inactive for nearly five years, according to the township.

Woolwich Township says it asked Capital Paving to confirm it still intended to move forward with the zoning application on July 16, 2012 and the company did not reply.

After a year without a response, the township closed the application file and notified the company in writing.

If Capital Paving wants to re-apply for the zoning permit, it will have to start the process anew said township spokesman Devin Petteplace on Monday.

Residents' association 'cautiously optimistic'

Woolwich Township Mayor Todd Cowan says the town was against some of the locations proposed for gravel pits, but is not opposed to them entirely.

"We do have and we have had gravel pits in the past," said Cowan. "We currently have gravel pits that are in good locations where it really doesn't harm or hinder too much of the day to day life for the environment."

Tony Dowling, who is with a local residents' association known as the BridgeKeepers, says his group is pleased with the town's decision but are also aware the company could change its mind.

"I would say that we're cautiously optimistic," said Dowling.

A spokesperson for Capital Paving told CBC News the company has no comment at this time.

The West Montrose covered bridge was built in 1881 and spans 60 metres across the Grand River.