THUNDER BAY -Updated – It is a question long asked in Westfort, in Fort William First Nation, and across Thunder Bay. When will the James Street Bridge reopen? For Fort William First Nation Chief Peter Collins it needs to happen as soon as possible. There have been many accidents along Highway 61, and there have been delays in getting first responders out to emergency situations in his community.
The issue has been before the courts, and today, the Ontario Appellate Appeals Court has come down with a ruling that requires CN to reopen the bridge to vehicle traffic.
In response to the City’s appeal heard in January 2018 by the Court of Appeal for Ontario, CN has been ordered to reopen the James Street Swing Bridge for all vehicles, including cars and trucks, and maintain it in accordance with its contractual obligation under the 1906 Agreement.
“This is a good day,” said Mayor Keith Hobbs. “The highest court in Ontario has ruled in our favour, and we now look to CN to repair and reopen the bridge as they are obligated to do.”
The bridge has been closed to vehicle traffic since October 2013 after fire damage.
“We are very pleased with today’s decision,” said City Manager Norm Gale. “We expect that CN will now carry out any necessary repairs and reopen the bridge.”
Fort William First Nation Chief Peter Collins is hopeful the long years of delays for Emergency Services, and for police as well as residents of the community will be over soon.
CN spokesperson Patrick Waldron says, “CN is reviewing the court decision and potential next steps. Regardless of the outcome, CN wishes to continue to work with the city and Fort William First Nation to try and find a solution to the issue of the James Street Swing Bridge.”