A railway spur line in the Northeast Industrial Park needs $145,000 in repairs after receiving no maintenance for more than 30 years.
Councillors were asked to approve the repair by CAO Brad Watson with funding coming from grants and the general reserve. Watson said June 24 the line was built in 1982 and no maintenance has been done on the area since. One company has been using a tractor to move train cars. It pulls a car from the side, which has caused some issues. The company has been told to immediately cease moving trains in this manner.
“It has put stress on the tracks to where the tracks are pulling apart,” said Watson. “A spill would cost more than $150,000.”
He needs to give notice to businesses so they can make alternate arrangements. Companies along the spur line have been made aware that the town will seek compensation for the costs.
“What are we doing to make sure this doesn’t happen again?” Coun. Shayne Steffen asked.
Watson has requested spur lines be added to each property for car storage and the company moving the cars has been asked to cease moving the trains without the proper machinery.
Coun. Loanna Gulka suggested the town operate annual inspection of the spur line to avoid this issue. Watson intends to add the cost of certified inspections to the annual budget.
Coun. John Jacobs suggests the spur line should be closed until the companies along the line find a way to pay for the repairs first. “It doesn’t appear we have an agreement with those using the spur line.”
He does not feel the town will recoup the costs from those companies but if the line is closed this might force some discussion.
“Come to the table and let’s talk,” he suggested.
Gulka disagrees. “That is our town-owned asset and if we did not do our due diligence in inspecting that then we don’t have a leg to stand on.”
Business owners along the line are taxed accordingly and Coun. Izak van der Westhuizen suggests council can levy taxes to pay for those costs.
They decided to make the repairs.