THUNDER BAY – FORT WILLIAM FIRST NATION – Fort William First Nation Chief Georjann Morriseau, continues to put the pressure on CN officials and the federal government about their plans to open the James Street Swing Bridge to vehicle traffic. Chief Morriseau, Councillor Wyatt Bannon and Director of Lands and Property Management Ian Bannon met in Edmonton last week with the railway company.
“We are still awaiting the results of their engineering report which is scheduled to be released at the end of March. Right now CN says the state of the bridge is deemed very unsafe. They will not consider any short term opening of any kind due to the capacity issues and safety, which is very frustrating to say the least. However safety is always key.” said Morriseau.
The James Street Swing Bridge is much more than just a bridge to the residents of Fort William First Nation.
While physically it links the two communities from both sides of the Kaministiquia River, it also symbolizes hope that the damage can be repaired.
With presently only one access point the First Nation is left with much longer wait times for Emergency Response personnel, safety concerns with fast moving traffic and lack of visibility-resulting in increased hazards for all traveling back and forth. Not to mention the economic impact to the businesses this closure is having for the two neighbours.
“CN will be providing communiqué for public release in the next week.
“We are currently in the process of meeting with the MTO to discuss various safety hazards along the highway such as adequate lighting, reduced speed limits, and temporary traffic lights,” stated FWFN in a statement.
“As a forced commute route our most precious cargo being our children are at risk everyday therefore measures must be put in place to ensure proper safety. We will also be meeting with Mayor Keith Hobbs to discuss their role with the bridge as this matter greatly impacts Fort William First Nation and the City of Thunder Bay,” concluded Chief Morriseau.