Trespassing was the main issue at a council meeting on Monday afternoon to discuss the requirements for achieving a train whistle cessation in Fernie.
Rick Poznikoff, from Canadian Pacific Railway, made a presentation to council, outlining the steps needed to address the safety issues involved in having the train whistle banned downtown.
Poznikoff said CP Rail must follow Transport Canada regulations regarding the train whistle, and are unable to stop their drivers blowing the whistle without approval from them.
A safety assessment would need to be carried out, at the City’s expense, and if a high level of trespassing is noted at crossings, mitigation must be put in place, usually in the form of a chain link fence on both sides, within a quarter mile of each crossing.
He also said that even if proper barrier crossings were in place, fencing would probably still be required.
Members of the BOLD (Better Our Living Downtown) Committee, Dan Cox, Simon Howse and Mike McPhee were also in attendance and said they believe the train whistle is detrimental to the tourism and real estate industries.
Mike McPhee asked whether the number of trains has increased in recent years and Poznikoff agreed it had, and that there are now between 14 and 16 trains every day.
McPhee pointed out that the noise level is above health regulations and that he is concerned that it is damaging to his children’s health.
Poznikoff said the minimum requirement is that the train whistle is 96 decibels and can be up to 120 decibels.
Dan Cox promised all present that BOLD would find a way to apply successfully for the cessation.
Council will readdress this issue at the regular council meeting on March 26.