VIA Rail Canada held a meeting in Vanderhoof last Thursday to talk about accessibility and options to improve it going forward.
Michael Woelcke, Senior Manager, Real Estate, Western Canada spoke at the meeting on September 26 and said “if there is a different way of doing things, then we’re all ears. Let’s see what we can do together to benefit both of us.”
Many citizens spoke up, worried about snow buildup but others were full of praise for the rail stating that the personnel are always helpful.
VIA Rail had a meeting with Vanderhoof Mayor Gerry Thiessen before the public meeting to discuss similar options.
“Basically we talked about the service of VIA Rail and the value it has to our community,” said Thiessen. “They needed to go out there and clean up the ramp and make it more accessible both in summer and winter. A lot of the time it’s uneven, it would be difficult for someone with disabilities or someone in a wheelchair to get up there. If they want to offer a service they should keep it ploughed out and shoveled out and we as a community could help them.”
Another one of the concerns is the boarding location itself. It isn’t well lit, sheltered, or in a preferable location. Thiessen and several citizens feel that they should move the site either to Co-op or near A&W. That way people could get a coffee and wait for the train to come.
“My family moved here because of the railway,” said Thiessen. “They came out to Saskatchewan and convinced my family and others to come out to Vanderhoof because of the railway. I believe that they have a social responsibility to us both in the areas of passenger service and also in the transportation of goods and services.”