Whitewater councillor says Transport Pontiac-Renfrew critical to economic development 0
COBDEN - One Whitewater councillor feels that reopening the CN Rail Beachburg subdivision is critical to the township's economic development.
Joe Trimm reiterated recently that council must do everything it can to save the 130-kilometre line between Pembroke and Ottawa in hopes of restoring freight service and introducing commuter rail.
"This railway may be a glimmer of hope for this municipality," said Coun. Trimm, noting that currently the township has no development proposals for a subdivision, hotel or box store. "We are a municipality but we don't have anything big and this railway goes within a blink of an eye of our industrial park."
Council appointed Deputy Mayor Izett McBride to sit on the Transport Pontiac-Renfrew (TPR) committee, a not-for-profit organization established to acquire the Beachburg subdivision to ensure rail service has a permanent place in the upper Ottawa Valley and Western Quebec. TPR has since formed a new board of directors that includes representation from municipalities who signed on to support the initiative.
Forwarding the nomination of Deputy Mayor McBride, Reeve Donald Rathwell said it is important they maintain a voice on the board in hopes of making commuter rail a reality.
"When you're dealing with the public's money, you want to be transparent," he said.
Council received an updated report from TPR. Deputy Mayor McBride noted one of the next steps is to connect the subdivision with the line through to Petawawa. A citizen's group based in Deep River has been working to rally public support around keeping the 91-mile Canadian Pacific Railway line open between Pembroke and Mattawa.
Sean Chase is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist