Newly raucous swing bridge foghorn deprives nearby homeowner of sleep

The newly installed automatic foghorn atop the bridge is causing some sleepless nights for one Little Current man. photo by Alicia McCutcheon

LITTLE CURRENT – A resident of Little Current who lives close to the swing bridge has been seriously affected by the installation of an automatic foghorn on the bridge and is disheartened by the lack of response he’s received from the Ministry of Transportation (MTO).

The foghorn was installed in 2020 and this spring, it made its presence known. At its worst, for three straight nights, and again during the day, the foghorn blared at two-minute intervals. The noise was penetrating, the Little Current man, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Expositor. “You can feel it in your bones,” he allowed.

He tried to drown the noise out with a radio, to no avail. Nothing could stop the foghorn from shattering through his home, causing nights of sleeplessness.

“I couldn’t function,” he said.

The man said he cannot understand why, when there is no boat traffic, the foghorn would be operational.

He contacted Member of Provincial Parliament Mike Mantha, Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney, the local Eacom supervisor (the MTO’s Manitoulin contractor) and Mayor Al MacNevin, but so far only the mayor has picked up his cause, he said.

The Expositor reached out to the MTO which told this newspaper that the foghorn is a requirement by law. “The Little Current Swing Bridge crosses navigable waters and is required to comply with applicable federal and provincial legislation, which includes being outfitted with visual and audible warnings for passing boats,” MTO communications coordinator Jaclyn Lytle said in an email. “In low visibility conditions such as fog, the foghorn is used to advise passing boats of the bridge’s presence. The new foghorn is automatically activated when it senses fog.”

The Little Current man doesn’t believe that is a good excuse. “I’m being greatly affected by it and we really don’t need it,” he said, noting that the swing bridge has gone years without an operational foghorn and the one it did have was manually operated. “It’s stupidity.”

The disgruntled man may be in luck, however, as correspondence to Mayor MacNevin from Herb Villneff, director of MTO’s Northeast operations, says the municipality can regulate the use of foghorns through a noise bylaw. He further stated that the MTO would be open to further discuss the operation of the foghorn with the municipality.

The foghorn subject is set to appear at an upcoming council meeting.