Friday , 7 May 2021
A damaged bridge built to hold the weight of a tank.

Lea Park bridges twisted, damaged due to high water

The community is still dealing with the aftermath of spring thaw.

Lea Park Golf Course had four bridges damaged and washed out this spring from significantly higher water levels and ice flows.

“The destructive nature of mother nature is unbelievable,” said Greg Hemeon, board member.

The water was at least eight feet higher than it is currently and area volunteers were unable to install additional pilings until the water receded.

One of those bridges was even engineered to hold a tank, so it could hold the mowers and heavy equipment.

Badly damaged, it is entirely unusable.

A large culvert acted as a bridge and was washed clear out of a creek into the river.

One of the bridges was washed further down the Vermilion River, and struck by a tree. Another bridge was turned 90 degrees in the middle of the river.

Only one bridge remained intact and volunteers had to have the land built up to make it secure. When the water level went down over the summer, two of the bridges were pulled on land to see if they could be salvaged.

“The river is going up and getting wider every year,” said Hemeon.

The golf course had to remain closed for the entire season and is still struggling to maintain mowing in preparation for next year.

Hemeon said in other years golfers travel from all over for the scenic view and campground. They continue getting calls from regulars from Frog Lake First Nation and Onion Lake Cree Nation to see when they will reopen.

No definite plans have been made as the board is unsure whether the remainder of the work will be completed this fall or in the spring.

Hemeon said being a non-profit organization that most of the ongoing work was put in by volunteers with a few donations of steel and equipment, all of which they were very thankful for – including help from the Legion to mow the grass.

“Were relying a lot on community support and we are getting it,” said Hemeon.

About Angela Mouly

Angela comes to Lakeland Connect after leaving traditional newspaper where she spent the past four years reporting on community events. Her repertoire includes writing about history, politics, agriculture, sports, entertainment and art. She was the third place recipient of an AWNA General Excellence Award for “Best Front Page” during their 2016 Better Newspaper Competition. Angela has lived in rural Alberta all her life and in Vermilion for the past 15 years. She looks forward to continuing to serve and inform the Lakeland community by joining in people's many adventures and sharing their stories.