Council getting kudos for its support

When only CAO Bill Naturkach and Coun. Struchan Gilson showed up for a meeting with CN officials on July 21, Central Avenue residents were skeptical about the support they had from the town.
But after Monday’s council meeting, the residents were feeling like there were more people in their corner.
“I think we were very well supported by council. I believe strongly that council stood up for our concerns and I want to commend them for that,” said Jack Lawson, long-time resident of 813 Central Ave.
“They’re not just letting things go ahead,” he noted. “They are going to take things one step at a time so we don’t get pushed into stuff before we know exactly what is taking place.”
Bev Sandmoen, a resident of 815 Central Ave., said she was “impressed” with council’s aggressiveness, particularly when questioning CN environmental engineer Harri Liivamagi.
George Drazenovich said he also was “100 percent satisfied” with its performance.
Mayor Glenn Witherspoon vowed to continue to support the residents, and stressed financial compensation for them will be pursued.
“Our number-one concern is that they be taken care of properly. If the diesel fuel doesn’t dissipate as it’s supposed to from the system, they should be compensated adequately,” he argued.
“I hope we’ll put some pressure on their claims people that the [residents of Central Avenue] be looked after if the system [CN is] recommending doesn’t work,” the mayor added.
But not all the residents were pleased. Jim Sawka refused to comment when asked about council’s performance, and Jack Gray of 118 Third St. W. said simply “it’s a wait-and-see game.”
Despite the doubts, Coun. Struchan Gilson pledged his continued support.
“I can’t speak for council but I’m committed to supporting the residents right down the line. I think they are getting a bad deal here from CN,” he charged.
“Their property is worth nothing,” he stressed. “They can’t sell it, they can’t re-mortgage it because of the diesel [leak], and I think CN owes them something.”