THUNDER BAY – Thunder Bay City Council met for two and a half hours last night behind closed doors to discuss a response to the proposal from CN over the repairs needed for the James Street Bridge. CN had proposed that the City put up $1.5 million dollars to get the bridge over the Kam River open again.
A fire closed the bridge to all traffic last October. The railway company got train traffic going again very quickly but the bridge has remained closed to vehicles and pedestrian traffic.
The cost of repairs, and the responsibility for repairing the bridge have remained the issues.
The City of Thunder Bay has impacted business on both sides of the bridge. Businesses on Fort William First Nation have seem major drops in business, as the longer route to the community has discouraged many from making the trip down Highway 61. It has also made for longer times for Emergency First Responders for accidents and medical calls.
Today’s decision is likely to generate emotions. The fire on the bridge has demonstrated that Thunder Bay still has a long way to go in bridge-building between Anishinabek people and some residents in the City of Thunder Bay. Social media comments once the bridge burnt generated very harsh feelings.