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Locomotive restoration all for naught?

With the multi-year restoration of Locomotive 6167 now on display on Farquhar Street (Tribune, July 24), one item that has been a cause for concern for many Guelph residents recently is the lack of a fence around the locomotive.
While I worked on the locomotive over the past few weeks, a number of Guelph citizens visiting the site have asked me why the locomotive won’t be fenced in. They are concerned that an asset in which the city has invested several hundred thousand dollars to restore will now be left virtually unsecured and vulnerable to countless acts of graffiti, vandalism and theft of valuable collectible parts.
When Guelph city council passed a resolution calling for the restoration of the locomotive in September 2002, that resolution very specifically called for “fencing replacement and a roof structure,” in addition to the restoration of the locomotive.
Both have now been omitted.
Without a roof, the locomotive is now totally exposed to the elements, and the decades-old cycle of deterioration that this restoration was supposed to stop will continue, just as it has since the locomotive was placed on display in 1967.
Furthermore, without a fence the locomotive is not only more vulnerable to vandalism then ever before, but the locomotive now becomes a public safety hazard and source of liability for the city. Aside from the danger of people climbing on the locomotive and falling off (a 15.5-foot fall, by the way), there are a multitude of sharp edges and fittings all over the locomotive that inattentive visitors or children can easily injure themselves on.
Suffice it to say, steam locomotives make very poor playground equipment. In the 41 years that the locomotive was protected by a fence, the City of Guelph did not incur one single personal injury liability claim from the locomotive.
Joe Dimech
Guelph

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