The Village of Macoun is now equipped with something the village has needed for a long time, for the sake of safety. Dignitaries with the village unveiled a pair of light-equipped, protective rail crossing arms at the intersection where Appleton Avenue and the railway runs through the village.
The arms are something everyone in the village is grateful to see, given the problematic nature of the intersection. Over the years, there has been a rash of automotive accidents occurring at the intersection, including a fatal collision that claimed the life of priest Father Joel Rama.
In addition to the railway crossing arms, which were installed in 2015, a stone monument in honour of Father Rama was unveiled. Locals and dignitaries from the village, local parish and council gathered near the crossing to celebrate the new piece of infrastructure and commemorate Father Rama, an important man in the community whose death gave urgency to the plan to do something about the dangerous intersection.
“The events leading up to this unveiling have not been positive circumstances, making council that much more grateful to the federal government, CP Rail and both the Archdiocese of Regina and all the former members of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Parish of Macoun,” said mayor Stu Sovdi in a brief speech to guests.
In 2012, Father Joel Rama was killed when his car was hit by a train in June, while he was on his way to conduct a mass in Macoun. Sovdi said that Rama’s passing prompted the village to look into getting crossing arms installed, but the estimated cost of the crossing arms came in at $318,520, a sum he said, “seemed out of grasp for our small community.”
However, separate entities which saw the cause as a worthy one stepped in. The village received assistance from the federal government, which provided funding, through grants, to cover half of the cost of the construction of the arms. Sovdi noted that CP Rail also contributed, providing a quarter of the cost of the arms, recognizing the need for safety in the village after so many accidents.
“That left Macoun looking at a much more respectable dollar amount to fund. Council was prepared to start fundraising for the final 25 per cent, when we were informed that former members of the parish had requested the Archdiocese of Regina donate the remaining funds in honour of Father Joel Rama, after his accident at the crossing,” said Sovdi.
The construction of the arms ended up costing $100,000 less than expected: something that wouldn’t have happened without the assistance from the federal government, CP Rail and the Archdiocese of Regina.
“Council is so grateful to all the people and organizations that made it possible to allow the Village of Macoun to offer this added safety measure, for not only residents of Macoun,” said Sovdi, “but guests and visitors that travel through our quiet community every day.”