Partial whistle ban bylaw delayed

Staff felt it was prudent to present new information before drafting a motion on a partial ban of train whistling

The ongoing saga of silencing early-morning wakeup calls from GO Trains departing for points south chugs on, with city staff informing council about new information relating to an eventual quieting of the train whistles.
Following up on a June 14 request from council, staff approached GO Transit once again with inquiries related to whether the city can or can’t tone down the whistles with a partial ban, in effect from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
General committee had previously decided to go with a partial ban, eliminating the whistles in the morning but leaving the decision as to whether a potential risk required their use up to the train engineers.
In a memo (A5 of the staff information memos) from Dave Friary, interim director of operations, council was informed that while Transport Canada guidelines permitted relief from whistling from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., protection requirements for a partial ban should be the same as what would be required for a “24-hour whistling relief.”
The memo continued that while partial bans were technically possible, “they were not generally supported by operators.”
GO Transit contacted CN as “they are the operating railway and the decision on whether or not a partial ban is acceptable, lies with the operating railway.”
Staff received information from GO on July 29 that CN did not object to a partial ban that would silence the whistles in the morning, but not in the late afternoon/early evening. However, GO has advised that any bylaw regulating the use of train whistles should make specific mention as to when they can be sounded.
The city’s insurer has also stated it does not see a “greater risk associated with a partial ban.”
The memo continued that staff felt it was prudent to “advise of this opportunity prior to the issuance of notice regarding the bylaw and the presentation of a bylaw on the matter.”
Council was informed that if it wished to proceed with a partial ban, a direct motion would be required.
So when will the whistles finally stop sounding in the morning?
“GO Transit anticipated that anti-whistling should be finalized within 2-4 weeks after the maze barriers have been installed, and they have received the City’s bylaw and signed insurance agreement.”

In other council news:

It was a quick meeting with general committee adopting most agenda items without discussion, including one regarding a code of conduct for council.

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