A plan to upgrade a rail crossing at Kilby Road and Dyke Road has been halted after residents decided they didn’t want to pay for part of the upgrade.
In Kent council Wednesday (April 24), director of engineering services Mick Thiessen said the district had sent 85 letters to residents of Harrison Highlands and the surrounding areas asking if they wanted to participate in a local area service agreement, to help pay for a new rail crossing at Kilby and Dyke Road.
The need for a new rail crossing came from a 63-person petition from residents of Harrison Highlands, saying that the train whistle was too loud near their homes. In order for the train to stop blowing its whistle, a crossing with bells and lights would have to be installed.
At the February 25 council meeting, staff were told to apply for a Transport Canada grant, which would pay for most of the $390,000 crossing. However, either the district or residents would need to pay for the remaining $78,000 bill. (If all the homeowners of Harrison Highlands participated, it would equal about $270 a year for five years.)
Of the 85 letters that were sent out, only 50 responses came back to the district. Of those, only one was in favour of paying for the new crossing.
The others, which included residents who had previously signed the petition, said they were either not bothered by train whistles, didn’t hear the train whistles at all, or were concerned that the train whistles would be replaced with the “continuous bell ringing noise” from the crossing, according to a staff report.
Because of this, council voted in favour of withdrawing their grant application for the new railway crossing. Staff will be sending letters to residents, explaining the crossing project was cancelled because there wasn’t enough support from residents.