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Bought home, didn't know about train whistles


  |  Posted: Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 06:00 am

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Re: Our View - Train whistle cessation and the silent majority. In response to the Dec. 28 Gazette article.

While I am not sure if I fall on the silent minority or majority side, what I can confirm is that I that have been silent for a while and now feel the need to comment on three points raised in the article.

You should have known, when my wife and I decided to move to this community over six years ago and start a family, it was because of everything we heard about St. Albert and were able to see first-hand: Great neighbourhoods, lovely surroundings, and all the amenities we could hope for.

All this came at a price, a higher-than-average home cost and a large tax burden – which we were more than willing to pay.

Like most communities, St. Albert has a noise bylaw to provide a peaceful environment for residents to live. However, unlike many other urban communities, St. Albert does not have measures in place to minimize the requirement for train whistles.

Now my issue isn’t with St. Albert, but the article suggesting that I should have known and accepted this issue when I bought my house. Our home is not beside the tracks (we are over a kilometre away with numerous other houses closer, including new ones under construction). The train whistles are most noticeable at night (not when we were inspecting the house) and neither the previous homeowner nor the realtor mentioned this issue to us.

If you haven’t raised this as an issue, then there is no issue – I wasn’t aware, that in order to be considered a valid concern, as the article suggests that I need to “‘Like’ a Facebook page established to promote the issue.”

I voted for councillors who I felt best matched my preferences for balancing quality of life and fiscal responsibility, and place my trust in their ability to make those decisions. Having to make my voice heard on each and every concern is neither effective nor efficient. Like all residents, I can make my voice heard the next time I vote.

It’s expensive – If the price tag is $1 million, then yes that is a large amount to pay and I can appreciate all the time needed to explore all options. But I hope as with any investment that can provide long-term payback, that brighter minds prevail and continue to explore opportunities to phase in potential improvements rather than taking the harmful all-or-nothing mindset (that either everyone has to benefit, or no one should.)

I accepted many times, when other investments were needed that immediately benefit other residents, but recognize that in order to make a community great (St. Albert ranked the best small community to live) a more balanced perspective is needed that reflects the needs of all residents.

St. Albert is and will continue to be a great city, not through divisive thinking, but by respecting diversity and understanding that being great requires long-term investment to support quality of life.

Chris Lawson, St. Albert


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