Valley rallies to save rail

SEE VIDEO http://www.ottawasun.com/news/ottawa/2010/12/09/16495286.html

Ottawa Valley’s municipal politicians are all aboard for calling on the federal government to stop Canadian Pacific from dismantling and selling the 167-kilometre stretch of rail line from Smith Falls to Mattawa.

The national rail company is planning on tearing up the tracks and selling the steel — worth anywhere from $50 to $90 million dollars.

“I just don’t think the federal government’s getting it. They don’t understand that this country was built on maintaining infrastructure,” said John Fenik, Lanark county warden, at a rally on Parliament Hill Thursday.

Minister of state Rob Merrifield said he’s going to talk to CP about discontinuing the line and ask if the municipal leaders can have more time to plead their case.

Al Lunney, former Mississippi Mills mayor, said they have 30 days.

“The chances of us coming up with a business case without bringing all the other parties to the table is virtually impossible,” he said.

The plan to save the railway could be thrown off the track in less than two months.

Valley leaders said there are other uses for the railway.

“For light rail, for environmental reasons, to save our roads, our bridges,” said Fenik.

kelly.roche@sunmedia.ca

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