Toll booth still up and running


The local OPP has been monitoring the Couchiching First Nations’ toll booth area on Highway 11, just west of the Noden Causeway, since it first went up late Friday afternoon.
“I am asking for the patience of the public, and for all involved parties and stakeholders to come together and engage in constructive dialogue to resolve the underlying issues,” OPP detachment commander Insp. John Kendrick said yesterday in a press release.
The Rainy River District OPP detachment is monitoring the situation, with support from the OPP Regional Command Staff and the Northwest Region Emergency Response Team.
Plainclothes police officers have been present at the site, in addition to uniformed personal near the scene, to ensure the safe and orderly flow of traffic, the release added.
Traffic disruptions at the toll booth are minimal and there only have been short delays, the OPP reported.
“Participants have been peaceful and co-operative with police as officers perform their duties and responsibilities,” said an OPP release dated May 22.
“For the most part, motorists have been orderly,” it noted.
While Highway 11 is the only direct route to areas east of Fort Frances, the OPP is advising tourists travelling to areas north of the Highway 17 tourist areas may wish to use an alternative route to avoid delays.
The average delay Friday, when the toll booth first went up, was about 25 minutes for eastbound traffic at peak hours, said the OPP, while there was no delay for westbound traffic.
“In the meantime, the role of the OPP will be to continue to monitor the event, keep the peace, and protect the public,” the OPP release stated.
“Many questions have been received from motorists regarding the toll,” it noted. “The OPP will not speculate on situations that might arise as a result of toll collection.
“OPP recognize that this is a complex issue that is being addressed by many involved provincial authorities,” the release continued.
“Your local detachment is urging members of the public to be patient, peaceful, and respectful as these issues are resolved.”
It also stated the OPP “will not speculate on any possible actions taken by other agencies.”
Since the controversial toll booth first went up late Friday afternoon, some motorists have opted to pay the toll while others have not and just driven through.
The band also has changed the rates—reducing the $10 toll for commercial vehicles down to $1 per crossing—the same as a passenger vehicle.