By Don Norman
Manitoba Hydro has made it clear that at least for the time being, they will not be allowing the public to access the walkway across the Great Falls Dam.
In a letter sent to the RM of Alexander, Shane A. Mailey Vice-President of Operations Manitoba Hydro confirmed that Hydro will keep the walkway closed.
The crown corporation closed the walkway after a young man drowned in the quarry on the north side of the river on July 12. Hydro leased the land where the quarry sits decades ago to mine rock to use at the dam site. Currently the easiest access to the site is across the dam from Great Falls.
On July 29, Hydro met with several stakeholders in the area, including representatives from the RM of Alexander, and the trail associations that also use that walkway. The letter was a follow up to that meeting.
Mailey did the leave the door open a crack, however. “We would consider reopening the walkway in the future if one or more stakeholder groups are prepared to take responsibility for the quarry site, including ongoing maintenance, enforcement and signage,” read the letter.
But he said that before they would consider it, Hydro would have to carry out anew risk assessment that takes into account a higher number of public interactions on the walkway and considers the feasibility of any upgrades required.
“Based on the complexity of these conditions, Manitoba Hydro is not in a position at this time to confirm if or when the walkway will reopen,” the letter concluded.