Whistle-blowing of the train kind has been ceased in Port Edward with new safety measures in place throughout the district as of July 9, the townsite council has announced in a public statement.
More than $1.7 million has been invested in the commissioning of additional fencing at access points to prevent the public from entering into active track lines and five crossing barrier arms have been installed in the municipality with a fifth safety arm further out at the cannery.
The cost of the upgrades was born by the District of Port Edward, CN Rail, Transport Canada, Prince Rupert Port Authority, and Ridley Terminals.
Mayor Knut Bjorndal said the noise cessation project which was started in 2014 with the commissioning of an anti-whistling report has been a long time coming with delays to the project in 2018 due to the Wilson Siding project when additional tracks were laid through Port Edward.
“This project has been focussed on improvements to the community safety, and also the quality of life of those who live and work in Port Edward,” Bjorndal said. “It was a major priority for our council to conclude this project and support the quiet enjoyment of residents in our community. Thank you for your patience.”
Heightened noise started in 2013 when rail traffic increased in the district, as well the rail company increases whistling blowing for safety at crossings after a couple of incidents.
“At times the horns and whistles were so loud a resident could be blasted out of bed,” the Mayor said. “I live next to one of the lines and times sitting out on the deck it would be startling.”
With most of the residences less than 400 metres away from the rail lines, Bjorndal said the noise from 14 trains a day could be alarming to residents and put off potential property construction due to the noise.
“Port Edward wants to see housing development,” Danielle Myles Wilson, district CAO, said. “The noise was the number one complaint from developers.
The new safety measures and whistling cessation have been in place only a few days, but Port Edward CAO Danielle Myles Wilson said the noise was affecting the quality of life in the town, but that will change.
“It’s a bit strange really, there’s something different with much less noise. The difference is notable,” she said.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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