Following a club by-law process that takes three weeks to approve large projects, the Seaway Kiwanis Club of Sarnia has given a unanimous "thumbs up" to the $70,000 funding of a rubber-wheeled train that will carry visitors on a meandering trail through Canatara Park.
Sarnia City Council already okayed the project at its Feb. 25 meeting, but with the voting at the club level complete, Kiwanian Paul Beaudet, who chairs the committee handling the train project, said the club will now be able to order the train, made by Granby, Quebec-based Wattman Trains and Trams.
Beaudet still expects delivery by July 1, given the company's verbal projection of a six-week production and shipping schedule.
He also said an anonymous contributor has come forward with a $60,000 donation that would be used to construct a train station in Canatara Park.
For its part, Sarnia's Parks & Recreation department, as outlined in a proposal to council (which it approved), calls for a ticket price of $2 per rider or $5 per family.
While the schedule has not been firmed up, expectations are that weekend and week day operation during warmer months will be encouraged, with staffing provided by three existing vendors in Canatara Park.
The Seaway Kiwanis Club of Sarnia plans to make a symbolic cheque presentation to Sarnia City Council at its next meeting on Monday (March 18).
“The train has been a long time coming,” said Beaudet. “We’ve been working on this project diligently for almost three years now."
Beaudet also said the club has spent more than $1.5 million so far for projects related to Canatara Park.