City to assess Locomotive #17

Nick Seebruch
City to assess Locomotive #17
Locomotive #17

CORNWALL, Ontario – Council approved a budget of up to $25, 000 for a tender to assess the status of Locmotive #17.

The money will be awarded via tender to a qualified consultant to assess the structural integrity and cost of refurbishment of the train.

Money to pay for the assessment will come out of the City’s Operational Reserves and therefore would not affect this year’s budget, but it would need to be paid back by 2018.

Located on the corner of Brookdale Avenue and Ninth Street, the train was owned by Cornwall Street Railway, the precursor to Cornwall Transit.

The locomotive was moved to its current location from in front of the Water Purification Plant in 2005 and in 2006, Cornwall City Council passed a by-law to give the locomotive a heritage designation.

Councillor Andre Rivette was vocally opposed to the idea of investing money in preserving the train.

“What business are we in,” he asked. “When I talked to the department involved he said $100, 000 but he just threw that out there it could be $200, 000 or $300, 000.”

However, Councillor Justin Towndale warned that if action was not taken now, it might be too late.

“The Locomotive right now is in terrible shape, its a refurbishment, not a restoration, but its a start,” he said. “If we leave it out there, we will lose it.”

General Infrastructure Manager John St. Marseille said that the Locomotive was “in an advanced state of deterioration.” He stated that the locomotive would have to be structurally stabilized before the lead paint was sandblasted away and a new coat of paint is applied. Additionally, he pointed out that if the motion to have the train assessed passed, the tender likely wouldn’t be awarded to the fall.

“Why do we let things get to this point,” asked Councillor Bernadette Clement. “We’ve lost so many historical assets in this city.”

Councillor Rivette felt that before any money is spent on Locomotive #17 that the costs should be better understood and asked for a motion to defer.

“We don’t have the information on this,” he said. “Mr. Mayor, $100, 000 isn’t going to cover this. We should be working with solid numbers.”

Councillor Justin Towndale pointed out however, that the whole purpose to find a consultant was to get the accurate numbers he was looking for.

Council passed the motion to have the cost of refurbishing Locomotive #17 assessed by a vote of seven to three.

The idea went around the Council table to move Locomotive #17 to a more accessible and prominent location if it is to be refurbished.

Share this article