Letter & Resolution in Support of the Algoma Passenger Train from the Town of Hearst

 Coalition for Algoma Passenger trains:
Letter & Resolution in Support of the Algoma Passenger Train from the Town of Hearst

June 3, 2016

Chief Jason Gauthier
Missanabie Cree First Nation
559 Queen Street East
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario P6A 2A3

Dear Chief Gauthier:

Please find enclosed a certified true copy of the Town of Hearst's self-explanatory resolution adopted on May 31, 2016 in support of the Missanabie Cree First Nation and Algoma Passenger Train Working Group's efforts to reinstate the Algoma Passenger Train service in our area.

Yours truly,

Janine Lecours
Clerk
________________________________
Proposed by : Councillor Raymond Vermette
Seconded by : Councillor Daniel Lemaire

WHEREAS the Federal Government decided in late 2013 to cease its investment in the Algoma Central passenger train service, an investment which it continued for many years to ensure safe and reliable access into many remote areas between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst, Ontario; and
WHEREAS the service was discontinued by CN Rail as a result of the loss of the Federal Government's investment in early 2014; and
WHEREAS, as a result of the cessation of this service, access has now been denied to many residents, tourist business operators, trappers and First nations, and
WHEREAS a Working Group has been formed comprised of affected stakeholders, chaired by Chief Jason Gauthier of Missanabie Cree First Nation, and
WHEREAS the group is moving forward on a plan to create a not-for-profit corporation to be led by Missanabie Cree First Nation and to include representation from the communities affected (Sault Ste. Marie to Hearst), and all other stakeholders as identified; and
WHEREAS the continued and ongoing investment by Transport Canada is absolutely essential to the successful return of passenger rail service to the region as was recognized by the previous Government in 2015 when it reconsidered its position and announced a further 3 years of funding; and
WHEREAS Transport Canada's stated mission is "To serve the public interest through the promotion of a safe and secure, efficient and environmentally responsible transportation system in Canada"; and
WHEREAS a study completed in 2015 by BDO Canada concluded that the Algoma passenger train is in the public interest in that it supported:
$38-$48 million in direct and indirect economic impact
170-220 direct and indirect jobs
$5.12-$6.45 million in tax generation; and
WHEREAS this same study also concluded that at least 75% of residents and property owners of the Algoma passenger rail corridor do not have other safe or reliable year-round access to their residences or properties; and
WHEREAS Mask-wa Oo-ta-ban (The Bear Train) is an initiative of the Missanabie Cree First Nation and the Algoma Passenger Train Working Group to re-establish and optimize the Algoma passenger train service to support the social, economic, employment and remote access needs of the First Nations, communities, residents, businesses and socio-economic stakeholders of the Algoma passenger train corridor, an initiative that follows and supports the mission of Transport Canada;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT Council of the Town of Hearst supports the efforts of the Working Group and requests that the Government of Canada recognize the mission of Transport Canada and support immediate resumption of the Algoma passenger train services by:
1. Requiring and compensating CN Rail to immediately resume scheduled service of the Algoma passenger train to support the social, economic, employment and remote access needs of the First Nations, communities, residents, businesses and socio-economic stakeholders of the Algoma passenger train corridor.
2. Supporting the Missanabie Cree First Nation and Algoma Passenger Train Working Group in their cooperative development of Mask-wa Oo-ta-ban, the Bear Train, to assume responsibility for, and optimize long-term operations of the Algoma passenger train in order to maximize the economic, employment, remote access and other public interests and values of the Algoma passenger train, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT Hearst Council requests that the Government of Canada's future decisions concerning direction for the support, scheduling and maintenance of Algoma's passenger train services be based on the economic, employment, environmental, social, public safety and other needs dependent on the passenger train services along with consultation with First Nations, communities, residences, businesses and socio-economic stakeholder interests, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT Hearst Council requests that the federal and provincial government recognize the Algoma Central Railway passenger train services and the rail access corridor it serves as a unique and valuable cultural, historic, recreational, environmental and economic asset where Federal and Provincial planning and investment need to consider the value and viability of train travel and recreation, and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED THAT a copy of this resolution be sent to:
surrounding municipalities for support,
MPs and MPPs serving the Algoma District,
all senior provincial and federal politicians,
MP Terry Sheehan,
MP Carol Hughes,
MPP David Orazietti,
MPP Michael Mantha,
Canada's Minister of Transport Marc Garneau,
Ontario's Minister of Northern Development Michael Gravelle,
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and
Ontario's Premier Kathleen Wynne.
CARRIED
About CAPT
The Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains (CAPT) is a not-for-profit organization comprised of individuals, businesses, First Nations, municipalities and other interests who recognize the significant economic, social, cultural, historical and environmental value of passenger rail servicing and interconnecting the people, businesses and communities of Northern Ontario's Algoma District to each other, Ontario, Canada and the rest of the world. To accomplish this goal, CAPT has been working with local groups to organize events in the community that utilize the railway as a means of advertising and demonstrating its usefulness in the area.

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