Whereas for years, Locomotive 19, the street railcar engine that was part of the Cornwall Street Railway system has languished at the corner of Ninth Street and Brookdale Avenue; and
Whereas, while successive Councils have acknowledged its role in the City’s history, none has made the commitment to refurbish the car or relocate it in a more accessible pedestrian-friendly location. Some significant challenges to these plans are cost and utility; and
Whereas the current estimates for refurbishment range from $100,000 to $150,000 and that expense represents just the first installment of perennial draw on finances since maintenance would be ongoing; and
Whereas, more importantly, from a safety standpoint, the car is not suitable for use as an interactive, approachable installation in a city park or playground, and, if so located, would require fencing to prevent public access; and
Whereas the Smith Falls Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario (the Museum) occupies an 11-acre site of historical rail-related cars and artifacts and its mandate is to preserve regional railway heritage; and
Whereas the Museum has been designated a National Heritage site; and
Whereas the Museum personnel has an association with Cornwall’s Moccasin Club and would welcome its input on planning the display and appropriate signage and text that would record the role of the car in Cornwall’s history as well as demonstrate Cornwall’s goodwill participation in a major regional tourist attraction; and
Whereas, far from languishing at the corner of Ninth Street and Brookdale Avenue well in the foreseeable future, until such time as it is beyond restauration, the car could have a home in a Heritage Museum alongside an authentic dining car, the last railway dental car in North America and a number of cabooses in which visitors can and do book booths for overnight stays; and
Whereas the Museum is a most appropriate setting for Locomotive 17; and
Whereas twice, the Museum has expressed interest with an offer to adopt Locomotive 17, as it were, to refurbish it and give it a home within an internationally renowned Museum; and
Whereas the Museum would refurbish the railcar at its own expense with the same level of volunteer labour that has maintained the Museum at a national heritage status.
Now therefore be it resolved that Council direct Administration to prepare a report which would include the following information:
- How the City of Cornwall acquired Locomotive #17, with details of any obligations we assumed at the time and a summary of the care we have taken in its regard; and
- The continued willingness of the Railway Museum personnel to accept Locomotive #17 after they have had an opportunity to assess its current condition: and
3. The cost of transporting Locomotive #17 to the on-site sheds at the Smiths Falls Museum where the refurbishment would take place.