Train plan goes public, Vallée on board - Low Down to Hull and Back News, February 25-March 3, 2015

While Minister of Justice and for the Outaouais Stephanie Vallée says she must remain neutral when it comes to the proposed steam train projects, the MNA couldn’t help but show a glimmer of support for the Wakefield track.

‘I’ve said it in the past I’ll continue saying it, we have major public investment [in] the track. I think we have a responsibility towards those investments.” Vallée told the Low Down.  “Instead of just saying ‘oh no, it’s just too bad, we just put $10 million in the project and it’s just money,’ well it’s our money.”

On February 26, Vallée met with [the] President of the Wakefield Steam Train Group (WSTG) Marc Fournier to get a sense of the project and, of course receive a chocolate train.

“It was my turn to receive one, which was very sweet,” Vallée said with a smile.

The Minister says the train file has always been of importance to her, and calls the project a vital part of economic development in the Gatineau Hills.

“I was obviously pleased to see that there was a project presented … [Fournier] decided with local business people to present … a very interesting project, and I want to thank them because they decided to come up with an idea, and submit something and be active in the file.”

Fournier, who owns the Wakefield Confiserie, says that since the business plan went public, he’s received lots of positive feedback both from businesses and the general public. “I had a client walk in the shop yesterday saying he couldn’t believe it’s going to impact the whole area.  Compared to what the train used to be … the impact on the [Gatineau Hills] will be greater.”

Fournier adds he’s even received a phone call from another local business interested in contributing to the project. The final recommendations to la Compagnie de chemin de fer de l’Outaouais (CCFO) must be in by the end of March.  At that point, the deciding board will have a few weeks to make a final decision on the project.

“There’s a lot of work still ahead, even if we do get the project,” Fournier said. “Like financing, for example, but it’s looking good.”

In the next few weeks, the WSTG will be seeking letters of support for the business plan itself, something they’d like to submit by the end of March along with final recommendations to the CCFO.  If you’d like to pen a letter, view the business plan, or help the cause, contact Fournier at marc@laconfiserie.ca

 

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