Ontario Northland decision, 'a slap in the face'Monday, March 26, 2012 by: SooToday.com Staff
FEDERATION OF NORTHERN
McGuinty Government’s abandoning Ontario Northland a “slap in the face” for Northerners, businesses
Alan Spacek, President of the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) had this to say about the Provincial Government’s announcement Friday concerning their abandonment
of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission and all of the vital transportation links it provides to the citizens and industries of the North:
“You cannot imagine my shock and disappointment” noted Spacek. “It’s not just the horrible ramifications this divestiture has for the people of Northern Ontario, it was also the way this decision was arrived at – in Toronto behind closed doors without any input from Northerners who are most impacted”.
Spacek immediately asked that this decision be rescinded until some form of proper study and consultation with Northerners – both citizens and industries - can be undertaken.
“We will work diligently to rectify this most unfortunate situation,” Spacek said.
“Our organization has worked hard to assist the Province in coming up with solutions to deal with ONTC over the years, and are more than willing to continue to do so to keep this vitally important transportation link in Northern Ontario.” noted FONOM Vice President Tom Laughren. “Seniors needing medical help who cannot drive are going to be left to fend for themselves without the Ontario Northland Passenger Services – both by bus and by rail,” continued Laughren.
“North Bay industry will be seriously impacted by this short-sighted decision,” claimed Mac Bain, Past President of FONOM. “We will fight this until the end.”
“A critical public asset is being abandoned by this Provincial Government, and as Northerners most affected by it, we weren’t even consulted,” Spacek said. “We ask that the Province put a two year moratorium on this decision while we consult on the best ways to proceed. We ask that in the meantime, Ontario Northland be transferred to the Ministry of Transportation or to Metrolinx, where appropriate advice on this process can be obtained. The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines clearly does not have the policy development capacity to address the complex process of rail freight and passenger service and bus transportation divestiture, and we want an open and transparent process.”
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OMGWTF 3/26/2012 9:22:13 AM Report
This story is a blip on the radar in Southern Ontario where all the votes are so don't hold your breath that complaining will make a difference. Wait until tomorrow for the rest of the butt kicking in the Province. With them adopting 50% of the recommendations there will be lots of pain to go around. Point is that it would happen no matter who was in office. Remember how we got here - the world economy tanked due to the financial & housing implosion in the US so if you want to blame someone blame the greedy Wall Street Traders who screwed us all.
Fuzzy2 3/26/2012 10:04:18 AM Report
Once again, when our provincial government decides to make cuts, it looks north; it's become a habit that understandably infuriates Northerners. Is it little wonder we have little faith in being treated fairly in this province? We are continually served up as sacrifical lambs on the altar of governmental mismanagement and greed.
Now, again behind our backs, Mr. McGuinty plans on getting rid of Northern Ontario's essential means of transportation that would virtually cripple us. Ontario Northland is our life-line!
To fight this latest injustice, we need to rally behind Mr. Spacek so that his and our protests resonate across the media and directly to Mr. McGuinty and our regional representatives. Otherwise, remaining silent is to provide full acceptance of this debilitating plan. Just where do YOU stand on this issue?
geterdun 3/26/2012 11:57:30 AM Report
Thanks Dalton M.and Dave O.and Rick B. for turning your backs on the people in the North.We wont forget you trust me.......
howe 3/26/2012 4:09:07 PM Report
Abandoning the ONTC is just another bad decision on the North’s viability made by the bureaucrats in the south. The mayor of Kapuskasing is right when he says that MNDM&F doesn’t have the ‘policy development capacity’ to deal with this situation. Linking up the ONTC with Metrolink is probably not a bad idea. Securing the CN line from North Bay to Toronto for the ONTC would weld together both of these networks. This would give Metrolink its own ‘inhouse’ repair facility in North Bay and they wouldn’t have to go Quebec for their overhaul work.
The major problems for the ONTC as previously reported are the loss of important freight traffic – the Xstrata mill in Timmins and next year the Agrium phosphate mine/mill near Kap. The future looks bleak for freight unless the Province takes another look at railing garbage north from Toronto and encouraging the new ‘Ring of Fire’ investors to consider Timmins as the preferred spot for a new processing facility.
As to the declining passenger traffic, there could be a simple answer. How about adding to the current Northlander service by including new trains into, an d out of Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury connecting to Ottawa and Toronto. While at it, invest in some of the new rail/passenger equipment that is more fuel efficient, faster and environmentally friendly.
If these decisions are going to be made in the south, at least have the Ministry of Transportation conduct a thorough investigation into any and all possibilities for retention.