While residents are looking at potential names for Ponoka’s new north bridge — Bridgey McBridgerson most likely won’t make the cut — some residents remember just how important access from the north side of town was.
Debbie (nee Hinkley) Currie is one such resident who grew up on a farm at the northeast corner of the land past the bridge. She was born in Ponoka in 1951 and said in an interview that the bridge was essential for access to Ponoka. “It just became the only way we could get into town.”
In those days, taking the Highway 53 bridge was quite the distance for travellers and residents on the north side of town and access from the north side became even more important if there was a snow storm or if emergency access was needed.
In those days Currie remembers having to be aware of drivers and preparing to dash to the other side of the bridge before cars came along the way. “We were always warned to not get on that bridge when there was a car coming.”
Currie remembers her grandfather crossing the bridge in a horse-drawn hay rack while the wood planks that made the road portion would have holes in them.
The area along the farm was close to the Battle River and Currie recalls fishing along the riverbank with family and friends as well as seeing kids jump into the river from the bridge. As she remembers the river was quite a bit higher than it is today.
For Currie, while she realizes change must happen, it also leaves her somewhat saddened to see a chapter in Ponoka’s history end.