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More than 80 people attend Jones Bridge ceremony

Ribbon cut at grand opening for Jones Bridge.


More than 80 people brave chilly, windy weather to attend grand opening, ribbon cutting for Jones Bridge
Speakers at ceremony thank donors for their support of new pedestrian bridge linking trail’s two sections and making community safer, more active 

More than 80 people, including many of the community donors to the new pedestrian bridge on the South Huron Trail, attended the Jones Bridge ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, April 27, 2019. The weather was windy and unseasonably cool but that didn’t prevent a crowd of people from attending the historic grand opening for the new bridge. There were brief remarks from Pedestrian Trail Bridge Community Working Group Chair Dave Frayne; Project Supervisor Derrick VanDriel, of VanDriel Excavating Inc., Clinton; and from Municipality of South Huron Mayor George Finch.

Mayor Finch said “I’m very impressed. Congratulations to all of you. You’ve made a difference and we’re very proud of every one of you.” The bridge is “a perfect example of communities working together,” the Mayor said. The trail bridge is “an obvious need in the community … accomplished because of dedicated people like yourselves.” 

Project Supervisor Derrick VanDriel said they really wanted to be part of a project which adds safety so children and other trail users don’t have to walk beside traffic along the road to enjoy the trail. The firm is “very, very pleased” with the bridge. The Project Supervisor thanked his workforce, crews, project partners, and everyone who was part of pulling the project together. “We’re happy and pleased it turned out really well,” he said. “Together with Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority and B. M. Ross and Associates Ltd. everything went really well” despite a wet autumn. 

The community working group Chair told the crowd that “we had a phenomenal team to work with.” Chair Frayne said the bridge project team included community working group volunteers with representatives from Exeter Lions Club, the Friends of the South Huron Trail, and Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation. He said the bridge would not have been possible without seed money from the Municipality of South Huron; the generous donation from Donna Jones (in loving memory of her husband, Ted Jones); and all the other community donors (including service clubs; community groups; businesses; individual donors; students; and others). “Thank you for your contributions,” he said.

In the prayer of dedication at the ceremony, Kate Monk, Manager of Stewardship, Land and Education, said “we gather today as a community to celebrate this new bridge. We’re thankful for the skilled workers and contractors, who built and installed the bridge, the stairs, and the pathways. This bridge reminds us of the way we can work together to build something special. We’re thankful for the generosity of all the donors,” she said. She spoke of the people who will use the bridge today and for decades to come: “May their lives be better because of the time they spend in your creation.”

The ceremony took place north of Jones Bridge, at the new stairway built in memory of Brian Clarke. After brief remarks by the three speakers, and the prayer of dedication, bagpiper Ian McCrae led the donors and other attendees to the bridge. Dignitaries, including Mayor Finch, cut the ribbon to officially open Jones Bridge and then people walked across the bridge to the new pergola where donors are recognized. 

People can now cross the Ausable River, and enjoy both trail sections, without walking beside vehicle traffic on Morrison Line. Jones Bridge provides people with a safer, more scenic alternative. The bridge is called Jones Bridge as it is dedicated by Donna Jones, in loving memory of Ted Jones, who was a dedicated community volunteer, conservationist, Exeter Lions Club member and Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation director.

Individual donors, businesses, and volunteers have been raising money for several years to complete the Jones Bridge project and the April 27 ceremony was a momentous culmination of the community effort. The successful community fundraising campaign is now near completion of the capital campaign for the Jones Bridge Project but donations are still welcome for a legacy preservation fund to cover future maintenance and costs. Donations to the Jones Bridge project, made directly to Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation, are eligible for charitable gift receipts for income tax purposes.

To learn more, or to donate, visit or phone 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610. You are also invited to contact any of the members of the community working group. Their names are in the bridge brochure available online and in printed copies. To find out more, please visit the pedestrian trail bridge web page, on the website, at this link:


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