Council looks at train whistle cessation

Dawson Creek city council agreed to put $30,000 towards a crossing safety assessment, reducing the 2019 year-end accumulated surplus from $245,000 to $215,000.

The decision comes through discussions about stopping the train from whistling during nighttime hours, but will be required anyways as part of anticipated changes to regulations for crossings across Canada in 2021 — it will be the City’s responsibility to put in any required changes.

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Councillor Blair Lekstrom has been pushing for the City to seek a reduction in train whistle noise in residential areas, particularly during nighttime.

“The whistle that goes on at all hours day and night in our community is one that’s been brought to my attention, and one that I certainly recognize as a problem,” he said. “There is no doubt CN is going to push back.”

As CN doesn’t support whistle cessation, they will not fund any part of it.

“Crossings would be required to have flashing lights and bells, or flashing lights, bells and gates installed to meet the warning requirements in the absence of a whistle. CN estimates the cost per crossing to be $200,000 to $400,000 depending on requirements needed at each crossing,” wrote Kevin Henderson, General Manager of Development Services.

The $30,000 number for the safety assessment is an estimate, and CAO Duncan Redfearn says he hopes the tender is lower.

Councillor Charlie Parslow raised the concern that the work would be too soon ahead of the new regulations and that they may end up having to hire another consultant anyways.

Councillor Paul Gevatkoff also indicated it was too soon to put money towards it, saying he was not supportive of spending the money on a consultant for whistle cessation.

“If the legislation changes in 2021, that’s the time to spend money, if we have to,” he said. “We’ve been living with this railroad going through since it came in.”

Councillors Amy Kaempf, Gevatkoff, and Shaely Wilbur voted against the motion, but it passed. 

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