The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce commends the hard work of all the individuals, groups and government officials who participated in the efforts to keep the Sault-to-Hearst passenger service operational. From the onset of this issue, the Chamber has remained supportive of efforts to find an alternative means of keeping the train running in the Algoma District.
The Chamber views the recent train cancellation as another lost opportunity to expand the services that we as a community are able to offer. We have many residents and outside tourists who rely on the passenger service as means of transportation to camps, wilderness resorts and other destinations along CN’s line. Chamber President Monica Dale notes that “The passenger train is a service that benefits our city as a whole. We can’t really understand all of the factors behind why the deal is falling through, we can however learn from this experience and ensure these issues do not happen in the future.”
This week’s news provides our community with a valuable opportunity to learn and improve on the procedures surrounding issues like this one. The Chamber encourages that the City of Sault Ste. Marie and the Economic Development Corporation work with the Chamber on the development of an effective multi-faceted process of due diligence. Dale goes on to state that “The goal of this approach would be that we can apply these effective procedures when a third party is interested in taking on a venture with the City or other local interests impacting area stakeholders.”
It is the Chamber’s belief that this will ensure that time and resources are spent wisely and only with partners who have the track record and financing to deliver on their vision. Dale adds that “without the proper checks and balances in place, issues manifest themselves into failed ventures that leave our city trying to pick up the pieces and resolving unnecessary issues.”
Sault Ste. Marie has had many development opportunities not materialize into economically viable projects for one reason or another. The Chamber believes that proper due diligence is required to ensure that we do not experience repeated disappointments.
The Chamber remains positive that a solution can be found to save the Sault-to-Hearst passenger service. Dale concludes “There is reassurance is in the fact that the federal funding is still available and local stakeholders want to see this train survive.”