Boshcoff offers help on possible bridge deal

With communities on both sides of the border moving forward to find out more information on the international bridge here that was put up for sale last month, local MP Ken Boshcoff says he’s willing to do whatever he can to help.
Boshcoff told town council Monday night that when he heard the bridge was for sale, he felt he should get all the background information he could—both for himself and the communities—to share in any decision-making process, and put together a legislative analysis.
This report, which was given to each member of council, includes:
•a summary of legislation of acts and responsibilities of the bridge owners on both sides of the border;
•issues affecting Canada Border Services Agency;
•a summary of vehicle bridges and tunnels between Ontario and the United States;
•a history of operation and summary of assets and liabilities; and
•a look at the bridge’s relationship with the Town of Fort Frances.
“As you know from the report, there are 14 bridges in Ontario, and 13 formats of operation, which leads us to two conclusions: One, that whatever we come up with in the district would lead to some plausible hearing [by the federal government]. And two, there is no set format,” said Boshcoff.
“And there does not exist, at this time, a federal ‘buy a bridge’ program,” he noted.
“I’m here tonight to advise council and the community that if there’s a decision, it’s going to involve the federal government,” he added. “And I’m standing ready to assist you in whatever way necessary.”
Boshcoff told council he contacted several other ministers prior to Nov. 28 and made them aware of the bridge sale situation, describing it as “an opportunity that may involve several government departments.”
“I would have to say the request will inevitably come to the federal government,” he added. “It’s almost impossible to see how this could be achieved without federal involvement, seeing how it’s an international issue.”
Mayor Dan Onichuk said there’s a meeting of the Border Communities Organization tomorrow in the Falls, where representatives from the municipalities, state, and province will get together to draft a letter informing the International Bridge and Terminal Company and the Minnesota Dakota and Western Railway of their collective interest to purchase the bridge.
In turn, the joint owners will give them financial information regarding the bridge.
“Let’s get this information, digest it a bit, and see who the stakeholders, at the end of the day, should be,” said Mayor Onichuk, adding the financial information would be forwarded to Boshcoff and other appropriate ministers once they get it.
There also is a meeting slated Jan. 31 in the Falls to bring together the Minnesota Department of Transportation and other government agencies to talk about the bridge sale, noted Mayor Onichuk.
Boshcoff noted whatever ends up happening with the bridge, the process will be a long one—not like the one to build the bridge at Pigeon River many years ago when the Rotary Clubs of Duluth and then-Fort William got together and decided to it.