CAPT supporters continue to be very busy with the campaign to stop the cancellation of the ACR passenger train service (effective April 29). Many are circulating petitions which MP Carol Hughes created and is depositing regularly in the House of Commons with copies to Minister Lisa Raitt.
As part of the working group of stakeholders, CAPT is helping to encourage completion of surveys and will assist with a workshop for anyone wishing help with the survey. We have also sent a letter to the Hill Times which is a newspaper read by politicians and civil servants on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
Another town hall meeting will be held on March 27th—this time in Dubreuilville. For details, please see below under item (5).
Minutes of working group meeting Feb. 20
Algoma Central Railway Passenger Service Working Group
City of Sault Ste. Marie – Civic Centre –Thursday, February 20, 2014 9:00 – 10:00a.m.
Joe Fratesi, City of SSM, Chair
Dave Murphy, Coordinator
Carol Caputo, Algoma Kinnawabi
Dennis Henderson, A.R.C.A
Tom Dodds, SSMEDC
Marc Capancioni, SSMEDC
Angela Bruni, SSMEDC
Linda Nowicki, Wawa
Claude Laflamme, Hearst
Al Errington, CAPT
Ian McMillan, Tourism SSM
Bev Nantel, Dubreuiville
Louise Perrier, Dubreuiville
Chief Joe Buckell, First Nations
Sylvie Fontaine, Hearst
Call to Order – 9:05a.m.
- The Chair welcomed everyone to the first meeting of the Working Group that represents the broad cross section of stakeholders making a concerted effort to preserve Algoma Central Railway Passenger Service.
- Joe Fratesi –
- City of SSM’s City Council agreed to contribute $50,000, on the condition there is a fair contribution by other stakeholders.
- CN has extended the passenger rail service for an additional month (until the end of April 2014), however, we will still be working towards having the final report due on Mar. 31st, 2014.
- Tom Dodds –
- talked to Dave MacLachlan, Tourism Northern Ontario. TNO is committed to assist and is endeavoring to find $5,000 – 10,000 this fiscal
- suggested a Contribution Plan that consists of the reasonable amounts for each stakeholder.
- Sault Ste. Marie – $35,000
- Wawa – $3,000
- Hearst – $5,000 (will get confirmation on amount)
- Dubreuiville – Linda Nowicki will speak with Louise Perrier
- Cottagers – $500
- CAPT – $500
- < >$100,000 Agreement in Principle to Contribution Plan
BDO Terms of Reference
- Approach and Methodology – BDO is ready to work with stakeholders in our needed timeframe to establish the social and economic impacts and linkages of the passenger rail service
- Working Group –
- was supportive of engaging BDO and agreed to provide any comments on BDO’s Terms of Reference by Tuesday, February 25, 2014.
- Efforts outside working group discussions is encouraged, however, make note to acknowledge the working group and reinforce that we represent the interests of the individuals affected.
- Working Group –
- agreed that an introductory letter should be sent to the Minister of Transport, which will discuss who we are and our objectives
- agreed that a press release should be issued announcing that BDO (a nationally recognized firm) will be engaged by the shareholders to assess the economic impacts and social impacts of the cancellation of the ACR Passenger Service. This press release should also reflect that the various stakeholders are financially contributing toward this impact assessment.”
- will update the website with all appropriate material
- Approval of minutes needed before sending out to other stakeholders
- To be determined as matters arise with respect to this initiative
Donations to CAPT to support Save the ACR Campaign
In order to support the campaign to save the ACR passenger train, CAPT is asking for donations. You can make a donation on line by going to www.captrains.ca and clicking on the “donate” button on the home page. For donations over $10 an income tax receipt will be issued.
If you wish to give a donation in person in the Sault you may leave it at a store on Queen St called Shabby Motley 356 Queen St. E. open tues to sat, 10 am to 6 pm.
Survey and workshop Wed. Mar 19 5:00-8:00 pm The ACR Passenger Service Working Group and BDO Canada LLP are assessing the economic impact of passenger service between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst. One component of that assessment is a survey that is available at: https://0370ac8.netsolhost.com/algomapassengerrail/ACRPTSurvey.php
The more people who complete this survey the better. If you wish help with completing it, CAPT and the working group will be holding a workshop at the EDC on the first floor of the Sault Ste. Marie Civic Centre on Wed. March 19 from 5 to 8 pm. You may go there at any time during those hours and volunteers will be availabe to help you fill out the survey. If you do not want to fill it out on line, printed copies will be available for you to fill out on paper.
While everyone can enter their information through this survey, if lodge owners, outfitters and tourism businesses prefer to express how they would be affected by the cancellation of the passenger service, they can input their information through NOTO (Nature and Outdoor Tourism Ontario). If they contact NOTO.ca they will be given a link to use for that purpose.
Dubreuilville Town Hall Meeting/ Réunion Publique à Dubreuilville
A CAPT town hall meeting about the ACR will be held on Thursday, March 27 in la salle multi-fonctionelle of the Bureau municipal, 23 rue des Pins, in Dubreuilville at 7 pm
CTV news: survey about impact of ACR cancellation
Impacted by the cancellation of ACR passenger rail service? Tell us how
Use the ACR? Read this
CBC.ca | Morning North | Could be final year for Agawa Canyon Ice Climbing Festival
More support from Michigan
The following appeared in ON TRACK March 2014, a bulletin published by the Michigan Association of
Railroad Passengers (which continues to be among the strongest supporters of the campaign to keep
the ACR passenger train):
Keep Those Letters Coming
While Canadian National has agreed to keep the Algoma Central passenger trains running through April 29 on the 300 mile route between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst in Northern Ontario, the threat to this vital service remains.
With strong support from the City of Sault Ste. Marie and business leaders along the route, a Working Group has been formed to initiate talks with government and railroad officials with the goal of keeping the trains operating in the short-term while a longer-term solution is sought.
Supporters of the ACR are asked to send letters to: “Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt” email@example.com.
Please cc: your letters to the following:
“Prime Minister Stephen Harper,” firstname.lastname@example.org
“Mr. Bryan Hayes, MP Sault Ste. Marie” email@example.com
“Ms. Carol Hughes, MP Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing” firstname.lastname@example.org
“SSM Economic Development Corporation” email@example.com
“SSM Chamber of Commerce Ontario” firstname.lastname@example.org
“Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains” email@example.com
Visit the website www.algomapasssengerrail.com
Letter from CAO of Sault Ste Marie, Joe Fratesi, on behalf of the Algoma Passenger Train Working Group to Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transportation
2014 03 07
The Honourable Lisa Raitt
Minister of Transport
Tower C – 330 Sparks Street
RE: REQUEST FOR MEETING WITH MINISTER
On February 24, 2014 the ACR Passenger Service Working Group sent you the attached letter requesting your support in securing a one year extension to the funding that Transport Canada provides for this important passenger rail service. The extension would ensure that all of those affected by the cancellation of this service from Sault Ste. Marie to Hearst are given an opportunity to be consulted and to provide potential long term solutions that would preserve this much needed infrastructure in Northern Ontario.
The Working Group has engaged BDO Canada LLP’s (BDO) to outline the economic impacts of CN’s Algoma Central Railway passenger service. It is estimated that the BDO engagement will be completed towards the latter part of March or early part of April 2014. As a result, the ACR Passenger Service Working Group is requesting an opportunity to meet with you with BDO’s results during the period between April 10, 2014 through to April 16, 2014, given that time is of the essence with the termination date of April 29, 2014 looming.
Minister, this is a very important issue to the people of Northeast Ontario and we thank you in advance for your kind consideration.
JMF:bb Joseph M. Fratesi
Attach.(letter of Feb. 24, 2014) Chief Administrative Officer and Chair
ACR Passenger Service Working Group
Bryan Hayes, MP
Carol Hughes, MP
ACR Passenger Service Working Group
Mayor & Members of City Council
Terry O’Brien, CN
John Orr, CN
Lindsay Fedchyshyn, CN
Dave Murphy, Working Group Coordinator