A member of the Professional Engineers Government of Ontario (PEGO) and father of three who coached youth hockey in Belmont, Ont., Martin Haalstra died Nov. 29 of complications from COVID-19 at age 44.
Haalstra was the senior structural engineer for the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) West Region from London north to Tobermory east to Guelph, which includes over 500 structures. He was the project manager for the $400-million Highway 7 expansion project including 40 structures valued at almost $200 million, the rehabilitation of Highway 85 and the $100-million Highway 401 expansion in Cambridge carrying the largest traffic volumes west of the GTA, according to a biography on the PEGO site.
“Martin has contributed to pioneering efforts in steel bridge technology including innovative repair methods to increase service life and new alloys to improve corrosion performance and the largest bridge ever built in Canada using A1010 high chromium corrosion resistant steel,” PEGO stated.
Local media reported Haalstra was admitted to London hospital a week before his death after testing positive for COVID. A family friend said Haalstra was devoted to COVID health and safety protocols at work.
Haalstra was described on Twitter as a valued and respected member of the Canadian Standards Association CHBDC Steel Structures Technical Clause 10 Subcommittee. The Chatham-Kent Cyclones hockey organization said Haalstra was a loving husband and father and a passionate hockey volunteer.
Haalstra graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2000 with a BASc in civil engineering and a certificate in structural engineering. He became a licensed professional engineer in 2003
The resident of Belmont spent six years as a consultant for steel design for industrial applications. In 2006, he joined the MTO as a structural engineer.
His obituary stated, “He would have done anything for anyone expecting nothing in return. He loved his life and his children were the centre of his world. He loved nothing more than spending a day watching soccer, hockey, horse riding or any other passion they had. He loved so many and loved to tease so many. His sense of humour was one of a kind, but it’s his devotion and integrity that truly stand out.”
Haalstra leaves his wife Lisa and children Caleb, Ethan and Avery.