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Tbnewswatch Local News
Sunday May 24 2015
3:05 AM EDT
2014-02-07 at 01:21

Fort William First Nation to host Swing Bridge open house on Monday

By Leith Dunick,

Fort William First Nation residents continue to deal with growing frustration over delays in repairing the century-old James Street Swing Bridge.

To deal with the problem, the band has scheduled an open forum on Monday at 6 p.m. at the Fort William First Nation community centre to allow residents to voice their concerns.

The delays have resulted from an October fire that led CN, which owns the span, to close it to vehiclular traffic, forcing residents to detour to Highway 61 to get to and from the reserve.

CN said it needed three months to formulate a consultant’s report detailing necessary repairs. With that time-line drawing to a close, Fort William First Nation leaders say they expect answers soon.

The list of issues caused by the bridge closure includes longer EMS wait times, a reduction in business and dangers associated with the Chippewa Road detour, which is unlit at night.

(Thunder Bay Television)

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Tbaybmkr says:
Did they catch the individuals that started the fire? People are whining about the city and CN and forgetting that it's not their fault that the bridge is out...
2/10/2014 8:46:15 AM
Curious says:
Maybe they should look in their own back yard! Think about who or what business would benefit by losing the bridge.
2/10/2014 10:27:54 PM
Curious says:
If they want to have a bridge built, then they should build it.
2/8/2014 11:10:40 PM
Watchful says:
It is an old bridge. Put lights up on 61 and take a pill. This is small town Thunder Bay, not a big city. CN does not have to do anything. Building a new bridge would be ridiculous financially. Jeez what crybabies
2/8/2014 2:35:17 PM
Thundereye says:
I say Blockage the tracks until CN at least gives a statement, shares the agreement or expidites the engineers report. We'll see how fast they get the bridge fixed when you bite into the profits of CN, the sawmill and elevators. This would not be tolarated anywhere else.
2/8/2014 9:45:04 AM
passlake says:
"hi police, there are people tresspassing on our railway. Please remove them."

oh right, they have their own police force. They can just come in and remove you themselves.

it's private property.
2/8/2014 9:51:12 PM
glass half full says:

I guess the screening of comments is a one way street.
Why post this post from thundereyes?

2/10/2014 3:20:15 PM
Miles August says:
No where else in Canada would a 6 minute detour be headline news. I travel to the res. once a week to play hockey. trust me, it's not that big of an inconvenience to go the "long" way. Calm Down!! of course our knuckle head buffoon of a mayor is the loudest complainer of this "cause".
2/8/2014 3:17:04 AM
humnchuck says:
Leith, is there any way Newswatch could get ahold of the actual lease agreement between the city and CN to find out what the terms and obligations are?
2/8/2014 12:43:17 AM
passlake says:
what exactly is "voicing concerns" going to achieve at this point?

if CN isn't there to hear concerns (there's no indication in the article they will be present) then why do this?

What can reasonably be achieved or learned that isn't already known?
2/7/2014 8:10:44 PM
cazam says:
..........i guess to put it another way, if I had a bridge that I let people use and someone torched it, I doubt i would rebuild the bridge from them to use and possibly torch again!! Maybe people should try and walk a mile in CN's shoes.
2/7/2014 7:58:03 PM
cazam says:
Why would CN want to repair the bridge? What is in it for them? Has anyone addressed this point? After all, wasn't it a user that vandalized the bridge in the first place? So CN should fix it so it could happen again?Won't that just cost them resources that could be used to maintain rail lines? I know what I would do if I were in their shoes.
2/7/2014 7:50:38 PM
nat_geo says:
Yep, lets get CN to give up the land and tear down the bridge so the city can build a new one. That will only take what, another two or three years? If you're crying now about having to detour for a few months, having to detour for a couple of years will really have you soiling yourselves won't it?
2/7/2014 4:43:32 PM
jonthunder says:
If the railway promised free service that is what it has provided for many, many decades. Now there must be a consideration of damage to a wooden supported part of the bridge for vehicle traffic and if/how that can be restored to meet all standards etc. I have not heard the railway say it would renege on its commitment; but has said it needs time for engineering studies. If it does want to renege that is another matter for all parties to consider.
2/7/2014 4:23:14 PM
Glass half full says:

This bridge is and has been owned by CN not the province or the city.

FWFN has access to their community. This bridge is a convenience not a need. City residence who live in Mount Forest wait just as long for EMS services. This is not the only first nation or community that has one access route.

Stop using EMS as a reason for the bridge.

Call a spade a spade, it is about economics and convenience.

Make changes to the traffic plan on hwy 61. end of story.

2/7/2014 3:14:51 PM
67mike says:
The city built a new bridge to cross teh Kam River to get to the Mission Island.

Why can they along with the province and feds not build a bridge to allow acess to the FWFN and Chipewa, etc?????

I think that if this situation was occuring elsewhere in our River Terrace for example, it would be fixed long ago with a brand new bridge....just an opinion.
2/7/2014 1:30:51 PM
whatelseisnew says:
CN has EVERY right to not have vehicular traffic on that bridge for the same reason there are not roads that run parallel directly beside their tracks (CN property). Highway 61 is no more a "death trap" then it was prior to October 30th; it is the people driving on it that are the problem.

I know this is going to make a TON of people unhappy but in all honesty 70% of people driving in this town have no business behind a steering wheel.


1. When making a left hand turn you do NOT drive straight to the right lane.
2. When making a right hand turn you do NOT drive straight in to the left lane.
3. Stopping on off ramps! They are built that long for a reason, get up to speed and merge.
4. Driving under the speed limit. Memorial Avenue from Intercity Mall to Central Avenue is famous for people doing 40-50 in a 60.

If you are afraid to do the speed limit on a highway or your car is not safe enough to do 90 then you have no business putting gas in it period. Sorry for Typos

2/7/2014 12:50:52 PM
tiredofit says:
You claim Hwy 61 is no more dangerous that prior to October 30th? You obviously don't' drive it everyday. People are always blasting into the traffic without consideration for others. It's taken me 20 minutes some days to get from the airport lights to just past the intersection to Chippewa Rd! That's not an exaggeration.

You can suggest all the examples you want, the reality is, people don't follow them.
2/8/2014 6:05:39 PM
Arch Stanton says:
Albertabound makes the point, but I will repeat it here more strongly...


I have personally had 3 near-misses from people pulling out or cutting across towards Chippewa. Everyone I know has too. Yes, we slow down and take extra care but incidents ARE STILL HAPPENING. The junction was never intended for its current level of traffic and either needs temporary lights or other traffic-calming measures.

Exactly how many bodies will it take before the MTO moves on this????????
2/7/2014 11:25:33 AM
bttnk says:
Completely agree. It is very dangerous.
2/7/2014 2:07:42 PM
jonthunder says:
If I recall correctly; there is some difference between the bridge supports for rail (steel?), and the supports for vehicle traffic (wood?). I suspect there is more to this story/movie than we are aware of, and it will take many considerations and time. The governments involved have known of the age, condition and challenges of this bridge for many years and chose not to act sooner; all fingers cannot be pointed at the railway who is letting others use its bridge free of charge.
2/7/2014 10:49:24 AM
mika says:
Free of charge because that was the agreement, Jon. If they don't want to honour the agreement, perhaps CN Rail can return the land and dismantle the bridge (at CN Rail's expense) or hand over the bridge to the City of Thunder Bay, so that the City can charge a toll for both auto's and trains.

Or do you believe that CN Rail should be free from honouring agreements?
2/7/2014 1:20:09 PM
polar bare says:
Forget CN! At best you'll get a Band-Aid fix. It's time to work something out between the city, province, FWFN and the feds for a new vehicular and pedestrian bridge. Stop talking and someone grab the bull by the horns!
2/7/2014 10:18:16 AM
Eastender says:
Where is Idle No More? Have they never heard of Occupy Wall Street?
Why not Occupy CN? I bet you would see some quick action then! The entire population of TBay would be behind that.

People can make a difference.
2/7/2014 9:57:09 AM
bttnk says:
Build a new bridge and put a toll on it until the costs are recovered. They do this with new bridges from coast to coast.
2/7/2014 9:35:47 AM
joey joe joe jr. shabadoo says:
If they build a new bridge and demand a "toll" to cross it, most would just continue driving around to hwy 61 to save said "toll"...

Make an emergency lane that allows ambulances/fire trucks etc. ONLY for emergencies & put the monies into something else that's needed.
We don't live in southern Ontario here & shouldn't complain about a detour that takes 5 minutes!

At least its not an hour or two detour.
2/7/2014 12:05:55 PM
albertabound says:
I dive highway 61 every day and just about take my life in my hands every day due to the high traffic there and chippawa road. I think CN IS FULL OF BS. They are deliberately delaying opening the swing bring to vechile traffic in hopes the city and the Res build a new bridge. Why can a fully loaded grain train be allowed to cross the bridge and not a car? Give me a break how much does a fully loaded grain train weight compared to a car? Show us the engineer's report! I sure hope no one gets killed or seriously hurt due to the traffic jam on hyw 61 because of this stalling and BS from CN!
2/7/2014 9:35:35 AM
mika says:
It's clear CN Rail is stalling making repairs. The reason, likely to put pressure on the city and the province to build an alternate crossing or improve the access, via 61B.

They had the rail traffic moving after the fire in a matter of days. How can it be easier to get a consultant and engineering report regarding "much heavier" rail traffic and complete the repairs, then auto traffic? The answer is obvious!

For those who believe it's not CN Rail's responsibility to provide auto access, please find a copy of the agreement. If you still believe it's not, stop paying your mortgage or rent, because apparently legal agreements don't matter in your world!

For those that think it's the FWFN's responsibility, lobby the City and the Province to turn over the lands and roadways on either side of the river to the FWFN and then it will be the FWFN's problem!

Right now, it's CN Rail's responsibility plain and simple, if they don't make the repairs, end the agreement, take back the bridge.
2/7/2014 9:35:03 AM
jimbob100 says:
It has got to be the biggest joke that it still isn't repaired...several hundred ton trains can continue to cross but vehicles can't?? CN only wants the City to take over the bridge so they don't have to keep maintaining it. We still don't even know the cause...When it is reopened CN better give a full explaination as to the repair details so we know why it took months to repair. I say every business and citizen that is out of pocket for this constant delay and all the extra fuel costs gather together and sue CN for their lack of efforts. again where are our leaders in all of this??
2/7/2014 6:57:05 AM
Eastender says:
Come on Hobbs, put some pressure on CN. What progress have you made towards negotiations with CN towards the repair of this vital connection to an important segment of this community. They deserve some answers. Whats the big secret?
2/7/2014 2:01:45 AM
j_northey says:
With it being an election year for the city, and possibly the province, it is an ideal time for citizens to voice their concerns to those in charge. If Hobbs and our local 2 MPP's refuse to say what they will do about it (and the same for any other candidates), then don't vote for them and let them know why.
2/8/2014 11:49:19 AM
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