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Train whistle cessation and the silent majority

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  |  Posted: Saturday, Dec 28, 2013 06:00 am

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Picture this: dozens of new homes are built near a sewage lagoon. Even though the prospective owners are clearly aware of the lagoon, the houses are soon filled with new residents. Then years later the owners say, We want the lagoon moved and we want all taxpayers to pay for it. Were sick of it.

Well, St. Albert city council is poised to open a similar can of worms. Train whistle cessation, with a price tag of about $1 million, remains on the agenda.

Frankly speaking, anyone living on the west side of the city where late-night train whistles are causing much consternation, knew trains were there when they moved in. In fact, trains have been in St. Albert since the Canadian Northern Railway arrived in 1906 more than 100 years ago.

And keep in mind that getting rid of whistles wont necessarily give complaining residents a quiet night. The trains can only cease whistling if rail crossings are upgraded to a certain standard dictated by federal regulation. There will be crossing bells and lights, plus the fact that hundreds of tons of metal passing through town still makes a notable din.

Perhaps the most important question in this situation remains how many people are actually affected, and of those who hear train whistles in the dead of night, how many have a $1 million problem with the whistles?

While blogs, letters and council members have made train whistle cessation a front-page issue, it still remains to be seen how many St. Albert residents actually want $1 million spent on it. Only 18 people have made the effort to "Like" the Facebook page established to promote the issue.

There are many demands in the city for more funding, and a renewed sense of fiscal restraint at city hall. Before this issue picks up any more steam shouldn't we see whether residents faced with that price tag would rather see it derailed?

New postal outlets

Many in the community are still coming to terms with Canada Posts announcement that its eliminating all home delivery. All Canadians will soon pick up their mail themselves at community super boxes.

While some have pointed out the hardship this may cause some elderly and some disabled, there is at least one silver lining to the recent announcement. Canada Post said that its also opening more outlets to make it easier for Canadians to get their parcels.

Apparently, Canada Post plans to open more franchise post offices, such as those seen in grocery stores and drugstores, along with smaller kiosks at other locations, where people can pick up or send off parcels. More information is expected to be available in the new year.


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