Tbnewswatch Local News
Tuesday June 30 2015
9:54 PM EDT
2014-07-16 at 16:13

Work together

The James Street Swing Bridge could cost up to $3 million to repair before it can be reopened to vehicle traffic.
Jodi Lundmark, tbnewswatch.com
The James Street Swing Bridge could cost up to $3 million to repair before it can be reopened to vehicle traffic.
By Jodi Lundmark, tbnewswatch.com

FORT WILLIAM FIRST NATION, Ont. --  Dan Morriseau believes Fort William First Nation should contribute financially to repairing the James Street Swing Bridge.

"It wouldn't hurt to have contributions from anybody that can help," said the Fort William First Nation man Wednesday morning.

"The city, the railroad and the reserve I think should get together and fix up the bridge," he said.

On Tuesday, CN sent letters to Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs and Fort William First Nation Chief Georjann Morriseau laying out two choices to open the bridge that was closed to vehicle traffic after a fire last October.

The first option includes the railway paying 50 per cent, up to $1.5 million, to have vehicles share the rail deck if the city discharges the company from a 1906 agreement to maintain the bridge in perpetuity.

The other option is to have the company cover all costs and head to court over the more than 100-year-old agreement between the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and the town of Fort William.

Dan Morriseau said he thinks the three agencies should sit down and figure out the cost-sharing, anything to hurry along the process of re-opening the bridge.

"Just yesterday there was a lineup for two miles back here because they were working on the road for construction. If someone needed an emergency vehicle, how were they going to get that?" he said.

"There's no way it's going to come. That to me is a shame."

Mission Road resident Andre Gladu also feels Fort William First Nation should chip into repairing the bridge.

"We use it so we should be able to pay for it, too," he said, adding the closure has been a nuisance.

However, community member Dennis Long said there is no way the First Nation should be paying for the repairs, at least not a major portion of it.

"Maybe it could be a 75 split where CN pays 75 per cent and the city and the First Nation split the other 25," he said.

Thunder Bay resident Bill Conway also thinks the bridge is responsibility of the railway, not Fort William First Nation.

But also thinks that if the community, the city and CN shared the cost, it would make things easier for area residents whether travelling to the First Nation or the city.

Just as businesses in Fort William First Nation are hurting because of the closure, so are businesses in Westfort, said Conway, noting on his way to visit the First Nation, he would often stop in the Frederica Street area to buy coffee and a sandwich.

"I don't stop there anymore," he said.

CN gave both the city and Fort William First Nation until Tuesday at 5 p.m. to respond to their letters.


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Cletus Van Damme says:

I've listened to preachers
I've listened to fools
I've watched all the dropouts
Who make their own rules
One person conditioned to rule and control
The media sells it and you live the role

....I'm going off the rails on a crazy train!
7/17/2014 4:11:17 PM
Dan dan says:
Thunder Bay has the legal upper hand here, and CN knows this - that is why they offered to pay half for a replacement bridge. If they felt they would win, they would not have offered a cent.

No taxpayer money spent on a replacment! Take CN to court!
7/17/2014 1:29:21 PM
woofwoof says:
I really think it would make more sense in the long run if the city and FWFN invest in a new bridge. Why invest into a temporary solution? That bridge is way to old to repair to last.
7/17/2014 1:17:11 PM
FactualJack says:
CN's first offer is fair with the exception of releasing the company totally from any responsibility for the bridge. Perhaps a new agreement could be reached. The City should contribute as it owns both roads at the end of the bridge and this is merely an extension of those roads. FW First Nation should contribute as well, as the bridge serves that community and contributes to the success of a number of businesses in that community. Like Thunder Bay, FWFN should do projects that benefit the well being of the community as a whole. A 50(CN)+ 25(CTB)+25(FWFN) is probably something all involved could live with.
7/17/2014 10:06:43 AM
Eastender says:
CN is the bad guy here. You people have got a skewed sense of justice. They made a deal, and now because the bridge is old they want to get out of the deal.
CN made millions of dollars by runnung their trains across that bridge. They spent next to nothing on maintenance of the roadway. Why should they be let off the hook now and be allowed to continue running their trains, and blocking the roadway, while reneging on their contractual obligation to provide and maintain a roadway.
Whats the frear in going to court, you have a legal contract, whats the worst that could happen?
CN is playing the fear card, but the truth is they dont want to go to court, because there's a very good chance they could lose. Its a game of chess, and they are very good at it.
The cause of that fire is also very suspicious.
7/17/2014 10:03:10 AM
bttnk says:
I thought for a moment I was the only person with any common sense. Thank you for your post. It would seem that people on this board are willing to throw out reason and common sense for a chance to take a crack at City Administration and/or Mayor Hobbs. Lets not lose sight of reality and the agreement that CN signed to maintain this bridge. This and only this is at the core of the issue. If they had honoured their agreement we wouldn't be having this discussion. It really is that simple folks.
7/17/2014 1:33:34 PM
Bob Roberts says:
Lets see FWFN and City now have been called out by CN. The multi-million dollar question is how much will the Bridge repair cost. CN committed up to 50 % of the cost up to only 1.5 million. Seems to me the intelligent side with a real engineering report knows much more and is holding all the aces. What if the real repair cost comes in at 4-5 million or even more. CN has set a CAP limit of 1.5 million. Then there is the issue of ongoing maintenance of the bridge going forward , so who is going to pay for that ,you guessed it Taxpayers along with another major increase in taxes. Look beyond the short term need of cars crossing an old soon to be dilapidated relic that the City may soon own with major cost going forward to maintain it. CN is not going to tell anyone how much they have paid over the last 25 years.
7/17/2014 9:41:52 AM
Mastermind says:
Work together? First CN is threatened and when they basically call the bluff all of a sudden "we must work together". I think their answer is "screw you" you idiots. Go ahead and take us to court. Good luck. They don't seem to be intimidated. Good work Thunder Bay and FWFN.
7/16/2014 11:21:44 PM
bttnk says:
They aren't intimidated because they have a large pot of money to draw from for legal costs and they are betting that the City and the FWFN are not willing to head to court and spend a considerable amount of money and time (think a year or more) to go through a legal process.

As far as legal grounds, based on what I have reviewed personally, I am comfortable suggesting that the City and FWFN have a very solid case, yet almost no leverage for the reasons stated above.
7/17/2014 9:48:43 AM
PurpleLeaves says:
You're right Mastermind. Although, even after acknowledging that Hobbs and his office attempted to slander the company in the press, CN is still offering to assist with the bridge, up to $1.5M.
7/17/2014 9:55:28 AM
Mystified says:
CN should abide by the rez's trespassing threat and stop servicing the industries it does and let the industries take FWFN to court for lost revenue. If FWFN think they shouldn't have to pay 750k wait and see how much they will be paying if this were to happen.
CN will win one way or another and Hobbs and Georgann will look like fools.
7/16/2014 11:11:19 PM
ring of fire dude says:
Gotta love the headline . The Mayor , Police , Beardy , Fiddler ,NAPS can't even make the City streets safe and they are worrying about a lousy bridge . Drop it Hobbs , you have bigger problems on the mean streets of ThunderBay so quit pandering to FWFN and do something for the residents before the residents get fed up and start taking matters into their own hands .
7/16/2014 10:03:13 PM
donnybrook says:
The city streets aren't safe? I've lived here 30 years and have never not felt safe in any part of the city. "It" happens in any city, gangs and crime is far worse in Winnipeg than it is here. Why are you using this forum to bash the mayor for your misconceptions? Take your concerns to the police, they're the ones who can tuck you in at night if you need it.
7/17/2014 9:43:29 AM
eventscentre says:
What a bunch of bickering about nothing. USE THE ALTERNATE ROUTE. No wonder no one wants to do business with Thunder Bay and the most prosperous companies over the next 10 years will be the moving companies.
7/16/2014 6:38:09 PM
pylon says:
If the traffic is like it was before, that 1 lane bridge is going to be a long wait.. Traffic will be backed up to Montreal/James st steady.
7/16/2014 6:27:22 PM
iceman says:
The bridge is a piece of junk. Build a new bridge, have both sides pay for it, in the meantime take CN to court, and any winnings goes to the new bridge
7/16/2014 5:42:14 PM
rob20 says:
You're dreaming if you think the city will win in a court battle.
7/17/2014 10:28:05 AM
YellowSnow13 says:
If it is that important for FWFN to have 2 ways of getting there then FWFN should be paying for some of it. Oh wait, I'm wrong, you already have multiple ways of getting there. One from Hwy 61 near the mill and there are others from pretty much every road turning left up to the Tournament Center. You just want a short cut.
But with the trespassing issue and CN wanting to break the 100 year old agreement this bridge will be closed for at least another year.
7/16/2014 4:56:26 PM
Dudebro says:
It quite obvious no one is going to give in here. This is going to go in circles forever!
Let it go to court and be done with it.
It'll get dragged out for a long time irregardless and that bridge will stay closed until a decision it made - get used to it.
7/16/2014 4:46:03 PM
tbaybuddha says:
"irregardless" is not a word.
7/17/2014 10:02:08 AM
tiredofit says:
It's a word, it's just one with questionable meaning. Given that people utilize it on a daily basis, it should be considered as one. If they dictionary can add works like LOL and other stupid words, let's just accept it as one.

Regardless, or irregardless, it's still understood my must English speaking individuals as the same thing.
7/17/2014 1:09:56 PM
westfort resident says:
FWFN businesses have stated that the closed bridge is costing them $50,000 daily in lost revenues.

How much $ are businesses in Thunder Bay losing?

Media aren't asking south end businesses that question. Why not?

Inquiring minds want to know.
7/16/2014 4:45:31 PM
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