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Council to reinvestigate whistle cessation at 3rd Line crossing in Tottenham

August 28, 2020   ·   0 Comments

Town of New Tecumseth staff is reinvestigating the cost and feasibility of a whistle cessation along the 3rd Line CP Rail Crossing in Tottenham, following a presentation from a concerned resident who lives in close proximity to the tracks.

Kevin Misner of Deer Springs, shared his community’s concerns with council in the form of a presentation on Monday, after garnering more than 80 signatures for a whistle cessation petition in-person and over 120 online.

In the past, Council has declined whistle cessation requests due to added insurance costs and safety concerns.

“The CP Rail crossing at 3rd Line in Tottenham ON is causing serious impacts to the quality of life for the residents of the Deer Springs community due to whistle blowing at night,” Misner told Council.

On average, this intersection near Deer Springs sees 10 trains a day with most occurring at night and early morning. The trains must blow their horn four times when approaching the crossing and a final horn is held until the train fully reaches it.

Misner said the key concern is when the train travels behind people’s backyards, within 100 feet of houses on Casserly Crescent, while sounding its whistle.

“Residents as far as Martin Trail, Donnan Drive, and Jenkins Avenue hear the whistle and are awoken by it on most nights,” he noted.

“In nearby houses, the bedrooms can register a 90-decibel reading when the trains blow their horns. A comparable sound is the equivalent of standing next to a running lawn mower. This can damage hearing if exposed for long periods of time as well,” Misner continued.

“As can be expected, this is causing a lack of sleep, stress, and anxiety for the residents living in this community.”

He noted that one resident in his neighbourhood takes sleeping pill every night because of train whistles, while another resident is planning on putting up the ‘For Sale’ sign to find a quieter community to live in.

“One new resident is a Grade One teacher at a school in Maple. She’s terrified about the prospect of driving on the highway to her job and teaching young children on one hour of daily sleep,” Misner explained.

“Numerous residents say that their children can’t sleep at night, babies wake up every time the train passes, they are generally miserable and cannot stand living here anymore.”

Health impacts related to lack of sleep include high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure and stroke, Misner stressed.

“Being woken up repeatedly in the night without reaching REM sleep can lead to numerous health issues, such as obesity, depression, immunity impairment and lower libido,” he said.

“Furthermore, a lack of sleep in children can lead to difficulty with learning and increase depression and anxiety. Over half of the families living in this community have children living in the home.”

Deer Springs is in Ward 7 and its Councillor, Shira Harrison-McIntyre thanked Misner for brining forward his concerns.

“I just wanted to say that all of us as parents and owners of homes feel your pain and how difficult this has been for everyone,” she said.

“I think what we want to do is look into this and see what the cost will be for the Town and see how we can move forward with this.”

Misner was quick to point out to Council that there’s six crossings in Kleinberg, Woodbridge and Vaughan along the same CP line with whistle cessations already in place, as well as two in Bolton.

“Many of the crossings listed are not even half as close to nearby houses as the 3rd Line crossing in Tottenham,” Misner said.

“In these whistle cessations that have been put in place, accidents have not increased and that obviously involves putting up arms, lights, bells.”

Crossing arms and bells are a pre-requisite to a whistle cessation and have already been installed at the 3rd Line crossing Misner is petitioning.

However, Ward 8 Councillor Allan Lacey said while he understands Misner’s concern, there’s two other crossings located in the middle of Tottenham that don’t have arms and bells installed and will still require a loud train horn.

“By stopping the whistle at the Third Line, I don’t think you’re going to get the difference that you believe will happen because we still have to blow the whistle at the other crossings, or a quarter mile before, which are right behind yours,” he noted.

“Until we actually have all of the crossings in Tottenham with barriers and that, I wouldn’t even envision stopping the cessation on the third line. I apologize, but it’s too much of a safety concern for the other residents of the town as well.”

Town staff later accepted a request from Harrison McIntyre to look at when arms and bells will be installed at other Tottenham crossings when they reinvestigate the feasibility of a whistle cessation along the 3rd Line.

“I think that the residents in that area are wanting arms put in as well for the safety of the high school kids,” she noted.

Misner will be notified when the report regarding the cost and feasibility of a whistle cessation returns to Council, at which time he’ll have an opportunity to provide further input on the issue.

By Sam Odrowski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter


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