PUSLINCH – In an ongoing dispute between Arkell residents and Guelph Junction Railway (GJR), Puslinch council is pleased some progress is being made to address issues.
Puslinch CAO Glenn Schwendinger previously sent GJR a letter on behalf of the township after a delegation representing the train committee of Concerned Citizens of Puslinch brought forward numerous concerns regarding the operation including hours of operation, the train horn and general noise complaints.
At Wednesday’s Puslinch council meeting, Schwendinger gave an update on the Arkell rail siding situation and shared the City of Guelph’s response letter.
No official changes have been made but the CAO noted they are undertaking a sound and vibration study.
In regards to the train hours, the letter notes GJR is not breaking any Puslinch sound bylaws but are working toward starting the evening crew two hours earlier to reduce disruptions after midnight.
Coun. Jessica Goyda, a long-time Arkell resident, took issue with some aspects of the response letter.
She highlighted two comments, the first being the Arkell siding has been a transloading location since the early 1900s and that they aren’t breaking any sound bylaws.
“While both may be true, I have lived in Arkell for over 30 years and I have never experienced the humming and the transloading or train horns past 11 p.m. with the exception of this past year,” Goyda said.
“It is immensely inconsiderate, just as Mr. Schwendinger says in his letter, to knowingly impose this on a residential area in another community.”
Most frustrating of all, Goyda pointed out, was these changes seemed to have happened without any consultation with the township or residents.
However, she was thankful Arkell residents are at least being heard but suggested sound tests should take place while transloading activity is taking place to be meaningful.
Coun. John Sepulis also had suggestions for the noise tests.
“I’d like to ask they provide receptors where noise is heard at residences,” Sepulis said. “There’s no use having somebody take a sound meter check from 10 metres away.”
Schwendinger clarified he has asked the city for their consultants to do sound checks when it makes sense.
The CAO said they will continue to work with GJR and have regular meetings to address concerns.
Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com