All aboard!

Truro look­ing at road train for down­town and Vic­to­ria Park area

Truro Daily News - - COLCHESTER COUNTY - BY CODY MCEACHERN [email protected]­daily.com

A re­cent pro­posal to town coun­cil may pro­vide Truro with a new tourist at­trac­tion, and a new way to get around down­town.

The Town of Truro sub­mit­ted a pro­posal to look into the fea­si­bil­ity of bring­ing a road train to the down­town to shut­tle tourists to fea­tured lo­ca­tions such as Inglis Place and Vic­to­ria Park.

“What we are propos­ing is a sort of road train that would travel through the down­town and over to Vic­to­ria Park,” said Ali­son Grant, busi­ness de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer for the Town of Truro.

“The over­all point of it is to get peo­ple down­town and fea­ture some of our at­trac­tions. It has al­ways been a pri­or­ity for us to con­nect Vic­to­ria Park and the down­town in some way, and while we are look­ing at heav­ier in­fra­struc­ture in the fu­ture, this is a short-term play on do­ing that.”

In­spired by the suc­cess of sim­i­lar trains run in Tata­m­agouche and Hal­i­fax, the pro­posed train would not only serve as a new tourist at­trac­tion, but could also be used by res­i­dents as a way to get around down­town.

“It is cer­tainly not meant to be a pub­lic tran­sit model, but if some used it that way, it would def­i­nitely be a great spinoff ben­e­fit. We will prob­a­bly see a lot of lo­cal fam­i­lies with young kids want­ing to take a ride on the Truro train at first,” said Grant.

The pro­posed train will not

have a fee for peo­ple to ride, but will in­stead run off do­na­tions as well as spon­sor­ships and ad­ver­tis­ing from lo­cal com­pa­nies.

There would be a sug­gested do­na­tion of $2-$5 per rider, but if some­one is un­able to do­nate, Grant says, “You’re cer­tainly not ex­cluded from jump­ing on the train any­ways.”

In the pro­posal, the train would run on a loop be­tween the down­town area and Vic­to­ria

Park, with the main sta­tion pos­si­bly set at the Truro Wel­come Cen­tre and pos­si­ble stops at the Civic Square Li­brary and Inglis Place in be­tween.

“It’s de­signed as a sort of ho­pon-hop-off route,” said Grant.

“We are also look­ing at al­ter­nate routes, but we want to keep it fairly close to the pro­posed route as it has been de­signed to take 45 min­utes, keep­ing it not too short or long. There are pos­si­ble spon­sor­ships

for busi­nesses close to the route who want to be­come a stop and may want peo­ple de­liv­ered to their store­front.”

Cur­rently, the pro­posal holds no plan to bring the train to more com­mer­cial ar­eas such as the Truro Mall and Ro­bie Street, but it is ul­ti­mately the coun­cil’s de­ci­sion.

Costs for the train’s first year of op­er­a­tion would be $159,000, which would in­clude the cost of the train and ship­ping from over­seas, wages and salary for the driver and fuel and in­sur­ance for the train.

From that point, yearly costs would be around $45,000, which they hope will be cov­ered by spon­sor­ships and ad­ver­tis­ing.

If the pro­posal goes through, the train would run seven days a week from the May long week­end to Thanks­giv­ing week­end in Oc­to­ber.

“We pro­posed a sim­i­lar model to Hal­i­fax’s, where the train would run from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., but it is open to dis­cus­sion,” said Grant.

“We need to make sure there is in­ter­est from our down­town busi­nesses to stay open later hours to al­low the train to have as much im­pact as it can.”

Coun­cil has said the pro­posal won’t move for­ward with­out in­ter­est from lo­cal busi­nesses to sup­port the road train, but if meet­ings be­tween the town, Cham­ber of Com­merce and lo­cal busi­nesses go well, the train could hit the streets of Truro by May 2018.

“There are a lot of mov­ing pieces that need to fall in place for us to get to that point, but that is the pro­posed time­line right now,” said Grant.

“So far we have re­ceived a good amount of in­ter­est from busi­nesses who have con­tacted us to see if there is spon­sor­ship pack­ages avail­able and for in­for­ma­tion on how it may help their busi­ness.”

FILE

The Town of Truro has sub­mit­ted a pro­posal to look into the fea­si­bil­ity of pur­chas­ing a road train for use in the down­town and Vic­to­ria Park ar­eas, sim­i­lar to the one shown here in Tata­m­agouche.

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