By Andrea Horton
Mr. Dan Cox, representing the Better Our Living Downtown (BOLD) committee, addressed Fernie City Council on February 27 regarding the disturbance caused in town by the current volume and frequency of the train whistle.
The group has been working diligently to confirm the steps that must be taken with various stakeholders in order to eliminate the noise from the train whistle.
“The time has come for whistle cessation,” said Cox. “It has been in council’s sights since 2001. It has been talked about many times and shuffled off many times. We are ready to watch council make some decisions to allow whistle cessation to happen and things to get better.”
In a letter to council BOLD set out their beliefs including that the current noise level is excessive and at a decibel which is louder than the decibel levels which are acceptable with workplace safety in British Columbia; the current whistle noise is not contributing to our image to tourists or new residents in Fernie; the noise scares children, pets and is very disturbing to downtown residents; the volume of trains has increased over the years and will continue to increase due to the vibrancy of the coal industry, and Fernie has many citizens who work shift work where sleeping is already challenging and the train whistle adds more disturbance.
“We need to effectively apply to Canadian Pacific and Transport Canada to get any train whistle cessation approved,” said Councillor Randal Macnair. “Council is on board so we need to begin applying pressure to those organizations, to the Federal Government and Canadian Pacific, because ultimately they are the ones that will either endorse or decline our ban.”
Council made a motion to write a letter to CP Rail and to notify the public and stakeholders of their intent to ban the train whistle. Council will readdress this issue at the regular council meeting on March 26, 2012.