District of Port Edward funding rail crossing upgrades to cut down on whistling

The District of Port Edward is putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to stopping trains from whistling in town.

The District of Port Edward is putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to stopping trains from whistling as they make their way through town.

At the Oct. 6 meeting, council approved spending $714,750 to upgrade the two crossings at the small crafts harbour dock with crossing controls to eliminate the need for whistling, with the hope being that others involved in the movement of goods by rail will come forward to help fund the upgrading of the three other crossings.

“We have sent out letters of request to all the stakeholders and we have replies from some of them with positive results, but we can’t seem to get definitive responses. We’re getting responses that seem to indicate that once we get started and show the district is serious about moving ahead, then the response we get from the stakeholders will be swifter. If we go ahead with two of the crossings, then I can go back with the second letter indicating we are moving ahead and crunch some numbers,” said chief administrative officer Bob Payette, who noted there is an indication that the nearly $1.3 million remaining could be covered.

“I think it is time we move along with this, I think there, is no better time actually, and once we get through a few crossings and get some financing coming back the project will move along faster. If we delay and don’t put our foot forward, we’ll be stuck in this holding pattern … We’re counting on the stakeholders who haven’t stepped forward to respond and get two more done.”

The location of the two crossings was chosen to eliminate the need for whistling from the pulp mill all the way through town and after being identified as one of the noisier areas in town. While this will quiet the area down, Mayor Dave MacDonald noted it is not the be-all and end-all for rail noise in the community.

“Somebody was telling me it’s not as quiet as you think, it’s not as loud as the whistle, but I think I would rather put up with that for as long as the train is crossing than the whistling,” he said.

The district did not name the stakeholders who have been approached, but said that information may become available at a future meeting.

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