First off, I want to say 'hi' to the residents of Applewood Park who now are a part of Ward 9. In October of 2017, the Ward Boundaries were updated, which has brought the great communities of East Calgary together under one ward.
I want to thank all of my friends and neighbours in Applewood Park who reached out to my office, rolled up their sleeves and got involved in improving their neighbourhood’s quality of life by letting me know the challenge they face with the train whistle and the disruption it can cause to their quality of life and enjoyment of their home.
I also want to update you on a local project. We have heard from a number of residents regarding the CN Train Whistle at the new at-grade pedestrian crossing situated northeast of Applewood Park.
The multi-use pathway is an ambitious $50M project by the Parks Foundation to provide a ‘pedestrian ring road’ around our City. The City is very pleased to be gifted the Rotary/Mattamy Greenway.
As a city built up around the spine of rail lines, I appreciate and respect the immense role that trains had in building our city, province and country. As we’ve grown and evolved from a town sitting on bald prairie fields to a modern metropolis, conflicts between residents and trains have arisen, particularly around at-grade crossings – where trains cross at the same level as cars – and noise, typically represented by the historic train whistle.
While we all have stories of being “caught” at a railway stop while waiting for the train cars to go by (I always ensure that I’m never caught off guard by having a great podcast ready in the queue) and the frustration that can result of that, many Calgarians, including myself have come to almost regard it as a rite of passage to the great Calgary experience. However, what most residents find much more frustrating than being at a railway crossing for 10-30 minutes (throwing entire schedules to the wind) is the ear-piercing train whistle.
As irritating as it is, trains must whistle prior to travelling through at-grade crossings, unless an agreement has been reached between The City of Calgary and the railway company. In Applewood Park, residents have indicated to my office and I that they would like such an agreement put in place between The City of Calgary and CN Rail to stop train whistles at the at-grade crossings in Applewood Park.
I’m glad to inform you that this process is well underway.
There are four main steps required to cease the whistle blowing in Applewood Park.
- Assessing the feasibility of whistle cessation;
- Issuing a notice to the railway company outlining the intent to cease whistle blowing in Applewood Park;
- Passing a resolution at Council; and
- Notifying Transport Canada once the resolution is passed.
To date, The City of Calgary has hired engineers to do an assessment of the feasibility of whistle cessation in Applewood Park. A report was completed that whistle cessation was feasible and it was further identified with The City’s contractor that construction of required infrastructure elements (installing fencing, gates, signage, etc.) is on target and will be completed before the end of February. This construction will be inspected with a CN representative in early February.
Additionally, The City has been working with the Law Department to get the required notifications drafted and they are ready to be sent out to relevant community institutions and public stakeholders as soon as the inspection of the infrastructure is complete.
Once these public notices are out, the next step is to have a resolution passed by Council declaring that whistles will cease at the Applewood Park location. That resolution may either come before Council through a Notice of Motion from my office or through a report from Parks at the Standing Policy Committee on Community Services and Protective Services.
Lastly, once that resolution is passed by Council, a copy of the resolution and documentation will be sent to CN Rail and Transport Canada’s Rail Safety Directorate with the effective date of whistling cessation. At this point, CN Rail will no longer be required to sound the whistle at at-grade crossings and residents will be able to rest easy and be afforded the same expectations that their fellow Calgarians who live, work, and play close to railways and trains have.
Again, I want to thank the folks who reached out to me and my office and let me know about this. I understand that you have been living with this for a long time, and I am proud that I was able to move this issue forward as quickly as I have been able to with City Administration.
As always, my office is available to speak with you, and address your concerns regarding this, or any other matter.
P.S. If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or via telephone at 403-268-5330. If you’re on social media, I would encourage you to follow my online pages to get updates about everything that impacts your community, Ward 9, and The City of Calgary.
P.P.S. Have you given any thought of joining and participating in the Applewood Park Community Association? They are a solid group of neighbourhood volunteers who our office relies on to give us insight into the concerns and issues of the community. It’s been shown that there is a direct correlation between the number of residents who volunteer with their community association and the quality of life of the neighbourhood. Check them out and let’s continue to build our #GreatNeighbourhoods.