For decades, residents have been concerned about train noise and safety around the railroads in the Eastview and McNab neighbourhoods.
“You like to have your windows open in the summertime, just to let the breeze come through, but with the trains, it’s incredibly noisy. It’s one of those things you have to offset and there’s a number of them,” said Scott Simpkins, an area resident.
“We probably get about 10 to 12 trains around here in a day,” he added.
Simpkins and his wife, Sherri, have lived in the Eastview area for a long time.
“Safety’s a concern and I’ve always felt that way,” Sherri Simpkins said.
She said she’s worried about a short fence in the park that kids can climb over. “I don’t know why it wouldn’t be a taller fence for safety, keeping the barrier of the park from the railroad crossing.”
Regina lawmakers discussed the issue of train noise reduction and safety enhancement in relation to railways Wednesday, as the motion was brought forward by councillors Dan LeBlanc and Shanon Zachidniak.
During the council meeting, city administration said Transport Canada has the final say over any policy stopping train horns from being used.
Council also discussed the possibility of using bells instead of whistles or horns. Yet it was later noted that bells may be even louder, in turn enhancing the problem.
City administration said any potential upgrades to each railway and railway crossing could cost the city anywhere from $100,000 to $500,000.
“I don’t think the train whistles are going away for now. It’s intended for their safety,” said Regina Mayor Sandra Masters.
“So, whether it’s bells at a crossing or a whistle, I think the intention is to provide that safe passage through our city for the rail,” Masters said.
The administration is currently advising against the move.
There is also the chance that even if council applies with Transport Canada to stop the use of horns and whistles, that application could be denied, potentially costing the city millions in the long run, with no return on their spending.
For now, the train noise motion has been tabled until council sees the mid-year report on the Ring Road Relocation Project.