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Corner Brook may feature downtown street train for this coming tourism season

Coun. Vaughn Granter discusses a topic at the public meeting of Corner Brook’s city council Monday evening.
Coun. Vaughn Granter discusses a topic at the public meeting of Corner Brook’s city council Monday evening. - Gary Kean
CORNER BROOK, N.L. —

There could be an interesting new amenity for tourists in downtown Corner Brook this summer.

During its public meeting Monday night, city council approved to pursue an agreement with the Corner Brook Port Corporation on a proposal to operate a street train within the city from July 1 to Oct. 15 of this year.

The port corporation approached the city last month about the chance to lease the street train from a company called Ambassatours in Halifax, N.S.

The train would be an on-road novelty vehicle that looks like a miniature, colourful train and which can pull a series of passenger trolleys. It would be used to draw people, especially cruise ship passengers, to the downtown core.

An image of what the train will look like.
An image of what the train will look like.

According to a memorandum provided to council buy city staff, a preliminary agreement has already been worked out between the city and the port corporation. A deal with the company that owns the train to bring it to Corner Brook has yet to be worked out.

It is estimated the total cost to the city, including in-kind services, promotional items and other costs would be valued at nearly $35,000. This would include a cash subsidy of up to $20,000.

These estimates are based on known costs and anticipated revenue streams that would be typical for such an operation.

It is believed that these costs would be a worst-case scenario and, as sponsorships, advertising revenue, and ridership increase, the subsidy provided by the city would decrease accordingly.

Estimates presented to council were prepared based on information provided by Ambassatours and the operators of a similar street train in Tatamagouche, N.S.

City staff feels this is an opportunity to trial the street train without the upfront capital cost to purchase such a vehicle.

“I think this would liven up the downtown and would be good for visitors,” said Coun. Bernd Staeben before council unanimously voted in favour of pursuing the idea.

Here are some of the details of the preliminary agreement reached between the City of Corner Brook and the Corner Brook Port Corporation:

- Operation of the street train would be undertaken by the port corporation

- Sponsorship and advertising opportunities would be undertaken by the port corporation (with the help of the city)

- The port corporation would receive fare and advertising revenue to offset costs

- The port corporation would hire and manage street train staff

- The city would provide maintenance for the vehicle

- The city would undertake promotion and marketing of the street train

- The city would provide operating subsidy to the port corporation

Source: City of Corner Brook

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