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Bridge opening draws massive crowd

Inclement weather was no deterrent for the more than 1,200 people who showed up for the grand opening of the restored Brilliant Suspension Bridge.

Castlegar mayor Lawrence Chernoff said it was standing room only Saturday morning at the Brilliant Cultural Centre, where several speeches were offered by local dignitaries before the whole crowd made its way in slow procession to the bridge itself.

“It was fabulous, unbelievable,” Chernoff said. “I think it exceeded all expectations of how many people would show up, and it shows you what communities can do when they get together.”

Furthermore, he said the bridge itself combines function, beauty and symbolism for all area residents to enjoy.

“It's a superb addition to the community,” he said.

USCC president J.J. Verigin Jr. and his mother, Laura, cut the ribbon to allow people passage across the historic edifice.

Audrey Repin, community relations director for Columbia Power, said it was gratifying to see so many different area communities represented, from the City of Castlegar and the regional district to First Nations, Selkirk College, the Doukhobor Union of Youth and more.

“It was a real mix of everyone and every community,” she said. “It was a really neat, and very satisfying, experience.”

The bridge will now serve as a key attraction in the TransCanada trail system.