The New Pathways to Gold Society (NPTGS) has received $500,000 in funding from the Community Economic Resiliency Infrastructure Program (CERIP) to perform stabilization work on the historic 1926 Alexandra Bridge. The funds granted by the Government of British Columbia via Heritage BC are from CERIP’s Unique Heritage Infrastructure Stream.

The funding will go towards repairing the bridge support towers and structural features, including cement work, restoration of moldings and relief panels, repairing handrails and installing a plaque acknowledging this historic crossing point in partnership with the Spuzzum First Nation (SFN).

“This grant is the result of years of hard work by the project partners who want to restore the 1926 bridge structure, but also reinvent the entire Alexandra Bridge Provincial Park precinct in partnership with the Spuzzum First Nation,” says NPTGS Co-Chair Terry Raymond.

“This is a significant milestone in the campaign to create a world-class heritage tourism asset in the Fraser Canyon that will benefit communities from Hope to Barkerville.”

The 1926 Alexandra Bridge is an icon of B.C. transportation history. The site in the traditional territory of the SFN has been a natural crossing point on the Fraser River for millennia. In 1863, the original bridge was part of the Cariboo Waggon Road. The 1926 highway bridge was built on the same footings as the 1863 structure.

The 1926 bridge was decommissioned in 1964 when the new Alexandra Bridge was constructed as part of the completion of the Trans-Canada Highway. The old Alexandra Bridge is the responsibility of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI), one of the project partners working to restore the structure.

The bridge’s restoration is a critical component of the SFN’s economic development plan for the area.

“The 1926 Alexandra Bridge is the centrepiece of our strategy to reinvent and reinvigorate these lands in the heart of our traditional territory,” says SFN Chief James Hobart, who is also an NPTGS Director.

“Working with our partners we’re building Indigenous, heritage and other tourism assets and amenities that will provide employment for our people and folks in other communities along the Hope-Barkerville corridor. We’re incredibly excited to get to work to start repairing the bridge and preserving it for future generations.”

The Province of B.C. allocated $16 million to the Unique Heritage Infrastructure stream of the CERIP program and appointed Heritage BC as the program delivery partner. The program is part of the government’s $10 billion COVID-19 pandemic response.

“This funding will help to create short-term jobs for the Spuzzum First Nation and others involved in the rehabilitation work and will also lay the foundation for long-term jobs as we partner to create a new destination tourism attraction,” says NPTGS Indigenous Co-Chair Cheryl Chapman.

“The 1926 Alexandra Bridge initiative is recognized as a ‘Key Magnet’ project by the B.C. government’s tourism marketing plan and we believe it’s now on its way to becoming just that.”

The Alexandra Bridge Provincial Park Precinct Restoration Project has built a broad coalition of partners and supporters. Partners include SFN, MOTI, BC Parks, HeritageWorks BC, NPTGS and CN. Supporters include numerous outdoor recreation, heritage tourism and other community organizations and businesses as well as civic governments, including the Fraser Valley Regional District.

NPTGS is a non-profit organization committed to developing local economies in the Hope to Barkerville corridor through heritage tourism development, Indigenous reconciliation and Multiculturalism. For more information, please visit the NPTGS website.

NPTGS gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Province of British Columbia
through the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport.