Fort William First Nation wants to build a multi-million dollar bailey bridge at the exisiting site of the James Street Swing Bridge.
Chief Peter Collins feels a solution can be found outside of the court process.
“This dragging it out in the courts doesn’t make sense to me. You have the Ontario Court of Appeal already ruled against CN Rail, and now you have to go to the Supreme Court and how long will that take? Add another five years, ten years, who knows? This situation needs to be rectified and it needs to be rectified now.”
The Chief of the Fort William First Nation tells us he has spoken in the past with both levels of government and they have been supportive of building a new bridge.
Collins adds if they get the approval of both the City of Thunder Bay and CN Rail as well as funding, they could have a new bridge in place in anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks.
Fort William First Nation has been in discussions with ACROW Bridge Limited to discuss the construction of a new prefabricated bailey bridge.
The leader of the First Nation would like everyone to put pressure on officials to find a deal outside of court and start work on a new bridge. The project doesn’t have an official price tag but officials estimate it could cost anywhere from $5 to $8 million dollars. The proposed bridge would also have a 75 year life span.
Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs released a statement in response to today’s bridge announcement.
“We are confident in the decision of the Court of Appeal, which ruled in favour of the City in June of 2018 and ordered CN to reopen its bridge to all traffic including cars and trucks. The Court of Appeal was clear in its ruling, CN is fully responsible for their bridge and it is up to CN to determine what repairs or upgrades are required to reopen it. We call upon CN to do the right thing and fix their bridge.”
The bridge has been closed since a fire broke out in October of 2013.