Highest Trestle Can Be Restored, Experts Say

COWICHAN VALLEY - The highest trestle in the British Commonwealth can be restored to its original glory for less than it would cost to demolish it and build a replica, says a team that specializes in restoring historic timber structures.

A plan to save the 86-year-old crumbling Kinsol trestle has been put together by an international team of experts and Jack Peake, chairman of the Cowichan Valley Regional District, said he is calling a meeting of the regional board, provincial government representatives and other stakeholders as soon as possible.

This seems like the best win/win situation I have heard about in a while, Peake said.

Gordon Macdonald of Macdonald and Lawrence Timber Framing Ltd., of Cobble Hill, a company which has worked on projects such as Windsor Castle and Sir Ernest Shackleton's Nimrod Hut in Antarctica, said there is no doubt the bridge can be saved, despite its tatty exterior.

The 187-metre long trestle, which spans the Koksilah River on southeastern Vancouver Island, could be restored by late summer 2009 for a cost of $4 million, he said.

We have spent quite a lot of time getting to know the structure and we've taken advice from some of the world's leading experts in timber conservation, Macdonald said.

Under current plans, the province has pledged $1.5 million to dismantle the trestle and another $1.6 million to build a new bridge.

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