Thank you to all of you who attended the Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday. There were about 60 reps from many parts of the ACR rail line, including Oba Lake, Lake Wabatongushi, Wawa, Sand Lake, Agawa Canyon, Trout Lake, Ojidaki Lake and Achigan Lake. People travelled from as far away as Lansing Michigan and Wawa to attend. The meeting started with an upbeat performance by Forrest Hinich and Mister Tahti of a song about the ACR written by Jeff Hinich. It was very much appreciated by everyone. Many thanks, Forrest and Mister.
A report was made about the ACR Working Group’s process to select a third-party operator for the passenger train. Some members of the working group have been meeting to develop a new train schedule to propose to the new operator and Transport Canada that would result in more service in the peak seasons and reduced service in months such as November and December when there are fewer passengers.
Many people shared their concerns about their businesses and properties due to having no access since the train stopped. They are worried about such things as:
· boats, rafts and docks floating away with higher autumn water levels and being damaged when frozen in the lake
· water pipes freezing and bursting
· water pumps destroyed through being frozen in lakes
· unshuttered porches being damaged by snow and freezing rain.
A trapper spoke about the fact that he and other trappers do not have access to their trap-lines which they have to set up in the fall. Hunters who have secured and paid for animal tags have to have access to the areas for which they were obtained.
A rock and ice-climbing business owner needs to bring in clients to the climbing sites.
There was widespread consensus of all in attendance that CAPT should send a letter to CN with copies to Transport Canada and the Minister of Transportation asking Transport Canada to write a temporary contract with CN to provide service until the 3rd party operator begins. The service would be based on a modified schedule of only 2 runs per week in October and one run per week in November and December. This letter will be drafted and sent ASAP.
Northern and Eastern Ontario Rail Network (NEORN) (Algoma branch)'s submission to Moving Ontario Forward Infrastructure Consultation was presented and paper copies were handed out.
Several reporters from local media outlets were present: Jason Bertrim (Q104 fm), Brenda Grundt (Wawa-News), Ken Armstrong (Sootoday). Elaine Della Mattia (Sault Star) and Lincoln Louttit (CTV) covered the town hall earlier.
2. Latest media coverage
Coalition For Algoma Passenger Trains Co-Chair Al Errington and Board Member Linda Savory-Gordon talk about their update on the ACR Passenger Rail Service and what is going on with the coalition prior to its meeting at City Hall on Wednesday night. Country 104.3 by Jason Bertrim
The Little Engine That Could meets government bureaucracy Thurs, October 01, 2015 by: Kenneth Armstrong
CTV Northern Ontario Sept. 30, 2015 Soo Train Service will resume shortly by: Lincoln Louttit
Group of Seven, Painted Land Documentary: Algoma’s Landscape. Past, Present, Onward. Written by Steffanie Petroni, Northern Hoot