Tbnewswatch Local News
Saturday July 4 2015
7:48 AM EDT
2014-06-24 at 17:18

“Least we could do”

: Ernie Epp, chairman of the Christian Outreach and Social Action Committee, are asking for an explanation as to why the James Street Swing Bridge still remains closed to vehicle traffic.
Jodi Lundmark, tbnewswatch.com
: Ernie Epp, chairman of the Christian Outreach and Social Action Committee, are asking for an explanation as to why the James Street Swing Bridge still remains closed to vehicle traffic.
By Jodi Lundmark, tbnewswatch.com

THUNDER BAY -- A regional Christian outreach group is joining the call for the re-opening of the James Street Swing Bridge.

Ernie Epp, chairman of the Christian Outreach and Social Action Committee of Cambrian Presbytery, which represents the United Churches between Keewatin and Marathon, said the group was concerned about the impact of the closure of the bridge and felt they should say something.

"The least we could do was ask CN why the bridge was closed to cars and trucks when trains were crossing it and had been for months now," said Epp on Tuesday.

The James Street bridge has been closed to vehicle track since a fire severely damaged the structure in late October.

"We wanted to inquire but obviously underlying that is a feeling this is an enormous inconvenience to people in the community, particularly people in the Fort William First Nation and others living south of the Kaministiquia River who are now forced to drive out to Highway 61 to use an intersection that can be dangerous," Epp said. 

"CN should be working more actively we think to have the bridge repaired as it appears necessary.”

The outreach committee addressed the letter to Olivier Chouc, CN's vice-president of law. They did receive an email response to the letter stating there are safety concerns around the roadways as they are attached to the main railway bridge.

"The letter also suggested they realized the importance of this issue and CN was working hard to come up with a solution to the difficulty," said Epp.

The committee is always on watch for social justice issues and Epp said the United Church of Canada has been anxious for some time about its relationship with First Nations.

"The questions of Right Relations is a very important issue for us in the United Church of Canada. This seemed to us a Right Relations issue, if you will, arising right here in our city of Thunder Bay."

Right Relationships is an initiative by the United Church of Canada to promote healing between the Aboriginal community and the church.

The United Church was involved in the residential school system in Canada until 1969.




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The Beaver..... says:
"We wanted to inquire but obviously underlying that is a feeling this is an enormous inconvenience to people in the community. Please sir tell us all where there is this tremendous inconvenience of which you speak. People travel to work from all the townships around us every day and they do not complain ..so what's the difference here.. there is adequate access to the south side of the river
6/25/2014 12:37:48 PM
shortpeter says:
first of all Mr. Epp, anyone who has been following this manufactured story knows why trains are crossing and vehicles are not.
Next point, this is not an enormous inconvenience. FWFN is not a fly-in community. Do the drive as many of us out of town folk do.
Hundreds of small towns on highways have this same minor issue. Why is this different?
6/25/2014 12:32:36 PM
S Duncan says:
Churches have tax exempt status and by all rights they should not be speaking out on political or governmental affairs.

Im all for the churches and their rights to preach the religion they wish to, but in this case I firmly believe they have overstepped their bounds and are teetering on the edge of a precipice that will do more harm to themselves than good.

Stick to churching and leave political issues alone for your own sakes and ours.
6/25/2014 9:43:14 AM
Harold says:
We have the power of Christianity on our side now, what a JOKE!!
6/25/2014 9:26:54 AM
octane says:
I don't understand why its up to CN to provide a bridge for vehicles. Shouldn't this be a city issue?? Since when is CN responsible for providing bridges for vehicle traffic??
6/25/2014 9:26:47 AM
Harold says:
Dont worry guys, the friends of the James St Bridge now have the higher power on their side.
6/25/2014 9:10:33 AM
ring of fire dude says:
I find it odd that FWFN hasn't tried the blockade strategy since it has worked so well for Attawapiskat .
6/25/2014 8:06:06 AM
rob20 says:
Are people really this dense that they don't understand CN is in no rush to waste $40 million to repair what was a perfectly functional bridge before the local trash torched it? Why would they? I wouldn't if I were them. They're a business... they look at bottom line and Return On Investment. And there is no ROI to them by wasting millions to fix that bridge for pedestrian & vehicle traffic. If you want to be ticked off at someone be ticked off at the pieces of trash that torched the bridge in the first place. I would not blame CN for not repairing it at all. They only stand to expose themselves to more losses.
6/25/2014 7:42:32 AM
Kam River says:
For years now Thunder Bay Fire Trucks, Thunder Bay City Bus I am told have not been able to go over the bridge.
This has not been a problem as with in 5 minutes there is the Expressway.
But if the United Church members want to pay for a new bridge that would make the Ft Wm Reserve happy I am sure.
But as for the citizen of Thunder Bay though there taxes to paying for Hobbs's Unity Bridge.
6/25/2014 7:33:05 AM
Mystified says:
CN should make deal with the city and FWFN where they will let the city and Rez rebuild the roadways. But, they must also assume all liability.
6/25/2014 12:17:19 AM
eventscentre says:
Come on guys, seriously....I'd rather there was more pressure to have better ice roads to remote communities than cave in to this---when there is an alternate route that takes just minutes longer. Makes me shake my head
6/24/2014 8:41:17 PM
BlueJay12 says:
Which may close in a few years....actually no they will never close and in fact are busier than they have ever been! Mission Terminal which is owned by the CWB and Superior Elevator which is now co-owned by Cargill Limited and Parrish and Heimbecker will never close....those companies need the Thunder Bay port to ship grain East and always will, people need to eat...do some research! So two locomotives carrying grain cars at 130 tonnes each are able to cross this bridge but 2 tonne cars are not....give me a break, its all about the money!
6/24/2014 8:24:50 PM
donnybrook says:
...and meanwhile, out there in the real world, no one cares.
6/25/2014 10:21:57 AM
sawmillsteve says:
Looks like sunnyside says has a crystal ball and knows the economic future of the grain industry in town.
FYI Resolute has been hauling lumber via truck since day 1. Maybe do your homework!!
6/24/2014 7:22:49 PM
comments unavailable says:
I heard CN has also received a letter from the North Pole and Santa Clause also feels the bridge should be reopened!
6/24/2014 6:37:46 PM
comments unavailable says:
And this guy is who?
6/24/2014 6:28:39 PM
AND who are you?
Basically if you do not know who "this guy" is, you have basically told us all you are pretty ignorant of the who's who in Thunder Bay.

The kindergarden mentality of your posts also make that very clear as well. Go back to finger painting.
6/25/2014 11:21:33 AM
TBAY Opinion says:
Dr Epp is correct of course, and it appears that CN is dragging their feet.

What surprises me is the lack of a long term solution. The Swing bridge while functional is not really the answer going forward. It is a private bridge, and as we have seen in recent months, the general public is at the mercy of CN rail.

Obviously a new two lane bridge over the Kam river connecting the Band to the rest of the city is the solution. Funding should be shared by the Province and the Federal government. Frankly, I am shocked that a bridge wasn't built long ago.

The swing bridge when functional will do until then, but a new bridge is the answer long term.

6/24/2014 6:27:25 PM
sunnyside says:
It appears that there would not be an economic reason for CN to repair the bridge. With only 2 grain elevators that are not too viable and may close in a few years and with the mill already hauling via truck I can t see why a company would spend a huge amount of money on a crossing with no financial return.

6/24/2014 5:34:50 PM
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