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COMMENTARY · 11th June 2013
Steve Smyth
The closing of the Frank Street Crossing with no notice is unacceptable

Keith Ave. is the home of a fast growing industrial sector and this severely compromises our customers access to our businesses. Frank St was in existence before the railroad and is gazetted as such. To close one crossing because of one incident is ridiculous when many incidents have occurred at the Kenney level crossing.

The City must do something to address the concerns of business on the South side who are already being held hostage by long lineups at the Kenney crossing and the east intersection on the Sande overpass.

Steve Smyth
Peterbilt Pacific Inc.
Terrace BC


At 9:33 am today the City of Terrace emailed the following notice:

June 11, 2013

CN Rail has informed the City of Terrace that CN crews will be installing barriers to close the Frank Street crossing at Highway 16 today, Tuesday, June 11, 2013.

The City received notification from Transport Canada on June 6, 2013 that Transport Canada has ordered CN Rail to close the vehicle crossing at Frank Street due to a near miss incident involving a CN Rail train and a transport truck at the Frank Street crossing on June 4, 2013.

This means the City of Terrace knew about the developing situation since last Thursday.

Previous stories on Southside merchants and resident frustration with CN and the inaction/inability of the City of Terrace.

First from Mr. Smyth way back in September 2007 - A concern for six full years.

The First Container Train in November 2007 Arrives in Terrace

May 2011, Tractor hit by train at Frank Street Crossing

From RAfaSIE June 2013

From a resident April 2012

The same resident asked a question of the Candidates for Terrace City Council six months earlier

And a Councillor responded

From Nathan Cullen March 2013

Merv Ritchie's Commentary on the issue when he ran as Mayor summarizing the issue including excerpts from interviews with CN, Christy Clark and Pat Bell.
easy short term solution
Comment by dug haines on 17th June 2013
There is a easy short term solution to the closure of Frank Street.
No vehicles over X footage allowed northbound on the Frank Street crossing.
All the City has to do is post the appropriate signage and have the RCMP enforce it
CN/Federally Regulated
Comment by James Ippel on 13th June 2013
As CN Rail is a Federally Regulated Entity, why is our MP, Nathan Cullen not commenting on something that is vitally important to the people of Terrace? He should be fighting tooth and nail to have the level crossing opened immediately and demand that Transport Canada force CN to either build an Overpass or make a LARGE financial contribution to same.
Mr Cullen will be in Terrace next week opposing Northern Gateway (which is years away) while he should be lobbying for the immediate re-opening of the Frank Street crossing which is an IMMEDIATE concern to the Bussiness' and People of Terrace.
I am curious to see if this event is even any concern to him.
Do you think they know now?
Comment by Janice Robinson on 13th June 2013
The nasty tornados and hurricanes experienced by settled Americans, and the troubles with CN have one little thing in common......Indians.

American Indians were judged to be unsettled savages, who spent their lives following the wandering buffalo. No consideration was given to the weather cycles. Now, the horrible news regarding the deaths and destruction of tornados, floods and hurricanes is on every TV channel like they are still surprises. Hello?! Now you know that wandering buffalo weren't the only thing moving the Indians around. Now, we look at the faces of horrified humans, standing around traumatized and befuddled after a predictable tornado season......and cannot help but wonder, "What the hell were you all doing there?!"

In a previously commentary, I stated that sooner or later, you would all know what it feels like to be an Indian in Canada, because the government, and the corporations it represents, will treat the middle class as problems to contend with whenever you get in their way. Sooner or later..... Now, the middle class must be done away with because you have become a pain in their corporate arses, and they really do not care how you feel. Canadian Indians have been putting up with railroad corporations since the first spike was hammered. CN is abusive, spoilt and aggressive. Talking has never done us any good. Blockades have always been acts of desperation. First Nations who erected the blockades were/are judged and mocked.

Somewhere in the previous commentaries here, someone mentioned the idea of throwing up a rail blockade here in response to this matter.

The Gitxsan village of Kitwanga (and others) are experts on these matters. Remember when frustration drove them to consider a rail blockade? What did you think of them then? Were you understanding and supportive?

Now you know. We hope. Good luck to all concerned.....whether you've rooted yourself in the path of the next tornado, hurricane, flood, or railway line.
Well Steve
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 13th June 2013
If it is painful to have to admit who will all pay for a long-term solution for those who really need it, that might be the first step on the road to redemption. Maybe the realization that we are all suppose to be in this together could apply to other issues as well.
In all due respect...
Comment by maggiejo johnson on 13th June 2013
In all due respect....I disagree with the editor's remarks that we should be shameful for disagreeing with one another.

Our forefathers fought and died in wars for us to have just one of these rights - to argue amongst ourselves while embracing the freedom to do so.

Even this very 18 yr old son and I were involved in yet another regular occurrence - a very lengthy heated political discussion where I almost threw my dinner plate at him, as he almost did the same back at me! Ha ha! I love that he is so engaged in politics and News happenings and Community awareness.

My son was STOKED to count down the days when he was legally permitted to vote this year. And he did all his research to boot! None of this....eenie meenie minie moe selections at the polls to select a candidate. He did his homework and I trust he made the right decision in his voting right that he was so happy to finally be able to participate in.

That being said....we all disagree or agree according to the issue at hand. In all honesty? The more we all fight and argue about things? The more the issue heightens to the point the City has no choice but to LISTEN and step into action!

I predict that the Frank Street closure will be resolved sooner than we think ....just because of how we all agree or disagree and how we petition the City to have no choice but to listen and act!

But the fact is that the closure of Frank Street has hit a cord. That cord has turned into an umbilical cord STRAIGHT back to City Hall where they have to claim ownership of this umbilical cord and do the best thing they can do in tending to the end of the cord - the taxpayers of Terrace, BC!!!
Perfect, beautiful, just the way "They" like it
Comment by Merv Ritchie on 12th June 2013
Here we are, everyone in Terrace, enduring more hardship due to government and multinationals, and we fight amongst ourselves.

i can tell you one thing for sure
Comment by Steve Smyth on 12th June 2013
If thats your theory about the land being "cheaper" I can tell you that for the last 5 years our property taxes sure as hell havent reflected that. And since there is no zoned industrial land readily available in Terrace, would you have us all build elsewhere, thereby raising your residential taxes?
It is interesting that ...
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 12th June 2013
...the section of Keith that has all the development is on the end that requires the Frank St. crossing which everyone knew, or should have known, would be a bottleneck. I imagine the land was cheaper there because of it. But the solution will require a contribution form the taxpayers through the Ministry of Highways and the City of Terrace.

I seem to recall Highways being reluctant to continue with Keith Ave as a designated highway all the way to Frank St where it connects to Highway 16, because of the possibility of the Skeena River erosion. They didn't want to take over the responsibility of stabilizing the property west of Frank St. It was better to leave that to the land owner.

In any event this will be a case of the taxpayer paying for what might well be considered a lack of foresight by those who now find themselves with an access problem. Maybe the old SCI site should have been subdivided first.
Asses left behind...
Comment by maggiejo johnson on 12th June 2013
When a large truck is heading to cross the Frank Street crossing....they successfully cross the tracks but then have to stop at the highway prior to entering the flow of highway traffic. This is a their hind-end still remains over the tracks until they can move forward only when there is no oncoming highway traffic; hence a hazard to oncoming train traffic when their truck's asses are left hanging over the track line.

We are in a bit of a predicament here. Our traffic issue problems really need to be solved. We can't have that heavy traffic joining commuters on the only bottle neck of one single overpass.

Hopefully things come to a resolve soon. Perhaps there can be a trip light there for when heavy trucks trip the line...the oncoming highway traffic will have to hold back to let the truckers proceed along safely.

Comment by Lyn on 12th June 2013
Yes I realize the letter said transport truck, however, my point was, if a pick up can't make it, a transport truck won't have a chance either.
@ helmet
Comment by Terry on 12th June 2013
Or the railway could have just made it up . There have been many accidents at the frank street crossing for decades . Everything from loaded gravel truck , numerous cars to a full size grader and there was never even a suggestion closing the crossing . IMO there is a reason they closed it but not a near miss incident . There have also been many accidents at Kenny st. Crossing and many more close calls than at franks . And the CNR could close Kenny street crossing on a whim with the help of Ottawa . It shows every day how much the harper government hates bc . Prepare for more acting out on us by the reform thing from Alberta .
To Lyn
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 12th June 2013
It could have been a semi trying to turn onto the highway, stopped at the stop sign and still blocking the track. It is not clear.
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 12th June 2013
All crossings have been at the mercy of CN since the beginning. CN won't contribute to overpasses. They will specify how they will be built so as not to inconvenience them. Transport Canada can not change the rules that were agreed to way back when CN got the right-of-way. That means any cost of a safer crossing is on the taxpayers shoulders and any inconvenience will be to the users of the crossing. I didn't miss the point at all. I don't agree with CN's favoured position and I am not taking their side but the irony of your concern now because it effects your business is obvious. I didn't miss the point all all
another option?
Comment by Lyn on 12th June 2013
I don’t know if anyone else has noticed but at the Frank Street crossing there really is not a lot of notice for drivers when a train comes. There is virtually no time between when the lights come on and when the arm comes down to when a train is coming so sometimes a person can get caught in the middle. I stop at the tracks to check if the tracks are clear before I cross, but am unable to see if it is clear because of all the trees/bush blocking the view, I have to nose my truck right up to the track to check if it’s clear and IF there is a train coming, it’s too late. It is a lot better during winter months as there are no leaves blocking my view, but has been no effort by CN from what I can see to clean up the trees to help visibility. The Crossing on Kenny seems to be a lot better as the lights come on WAY before the arms come down so you know when a train is coming and have time to stop.

Maybe the alternative to closing the Frank Street crossing would be for CN to clear the trees and brush so that drivers can see, and have the lights flash well before the arm falls and the train comes??

What also worries me is with the increased traffic on the Keith/Kenny intersection. It already is one of the worst intersections in Terrace with the number of accidents, injuries and fatalities. If I remember correctly from a few years ago after the logging truck fell over on the Sandy overpass, transport/logging trucks were being asked to avoid using the Sandy overpass and were encouraged to come down Keith to go back on the highways…so where are these drivers to go? If this still holds true they will have turn onto Kenny, the intersection on the highway onto Kenny is not built for large/long trucks. Because they are so long they often have to drive over the curb or the sidewalk to make the turn. How is this safe?
Comment by Steve Smyth on 12th June 2013
once again, you have completely missed the point. Corporate interests didnt close that crossing, pencil pushers at Transport Canada did.

Terrace crossings a travesty
Comment by Byron on 12th June 2013
I figured in this time of increased traffic in our city they would be adding crossings before deleting them. The city should have given some more notice aswell. I was not aware it is Transport Canada's policy to close essential crossings and streets every time there is a "near miss". Perhaps the truck driver should be fined and dealt with instead of ruining infrastructure for an entire community. Traffic will be much more congested at the other crossings now causing more "near misses" from people going east to west on Kenney at the overpass trying to finally make it through. Our city clearly needs another overpass which CN should chip in for. Possibly at the end of kalum lake drive and Braun street?
There is a certain irony in this.
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 12th June 2013
The same people who often applaud the corporate mentality when great profits or economic gains of one sort or another are promised, get exorcised when the same corporate interests come back to bite them personally in some way.
Cost of doing business
Comment by Catherine on 12th June 2013
I wonder if they will try to plead a case for "overpasses" to drive us deeply into debt. Once done they can rape us uncontested. Remember Bill Bennett was up here, before the election, trying to convince city council to jump on the debt band wagon for infrastructure. This would take the pressure off CN and put the "costs of doing business" squarely on our shoulders.
All comments can be forwarded to...
Comment by maggiejo johnson on 12th June 2013
No need for an illegal blockade. All comments can be forwarded to...

The City Comment Line - 250 638 4778

One can merely leave a voicemail expressing concern/suggestions/anx issues. You may remain anonymous or not...but all concerns left on the voicemail are seriously taken into account.

Let's CLOG up that voicemail!!!
Comment by C. Arnold on 11th June 2013
This is absolutely unacceptable. CN needs to be held responsible... how about close the railway for endangering that truck driver and all the residents and businesses of South Terrace! It was unacceptable before this absurd closure. When is someone going to do something about this? Now all the extra truck and industrial traffic is going to also be trying to cross the one remaining crossing or the completely impractical Sande Overpass? This is not ok at all and I think citizens need to do something.
Comment by Linda on 11th June 2013
Terrace streets are bad enough, so all of the heavy traffic considerate enough to use the Frank street crossing to go through town in or out will be using the Kenny street crossing...unless there is a "near accident" and they close that one too??? Ohhh no wait, that would mean making them late because they would need to wait a half hour to an hour for the trains to go through then once getting through there, chances of waiting to get through the Kenny/Keith corner because of yet another accident is very better yet they will maneuver over the already crazy busy over pass and cross their fingers there is no accidents or hold up's there because that would be their last hope to get through our "city" Just pathetic...and embarrassing
Delays cost CN
Comment by Concerned Citizen on 11th June 2013
Delay a freight train with a blockade and maybe someone will listen because no one seems to now. It more about safety than inconvenience, with only one crossing when a train goes through the chances of accidents and maybe someone getting hit by a car increases.
Who exactly 'owns' this town?
Comment by maggiejo johnson on 11th June 2013
Who exactly 'owns' this town?

Is it CN or the taxpayers???

The City of Terrace may need to take some time out of their day to ponder that question, if they have not already done so.
As I recall...
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 11th June 2013
...CN has always behaved this way since way back when I was on Council. They are a classic example of corporate interests over community interests. The rules were made way back when the railroad was built and CN is not going to change them regardless of how communities along the track right-of-way are effected.
Irresponsible - ineffective - unreliable authorities
Comment by Merv Ritchie on 11th June 2013
Regardless of the impact of this decision no governing authority ie. City or Highways, took the appropriate action when notified of this decision.

The City had a duty to notify all businesses potentially affected and to put the message out as widely as possible immediately upon notice from CN and Transport Canada. They did nothing until the morning the barriers were put up.

The local Chamber of Commerce, another money collector with no accountability, also did nothing.

The Ministry of Highways however gets the middle digit for endangering lives, yet again. Just like their non-enforcement or even the non-issuing of Non-compliance reports (NCR's) to Nechako NorthCoast for their atrocious maintenance of the highways, they did not install signs on any highway, east or west, advising truckers, and traffic of all sorts, the Frank Street crossing was closed.

When a change in traffic pattern is made the Ministry has a duty to advise in advance and ensure the new traffic pattern does not create a dangerous situation.

A visit to the crossing around the noon hour saw many highway trucks and four wheel vehicles attempt to turn at Frank Street. Neither from the east or west on Highway 16 between the Nass valley turn off and Kitsumkalum was there signage of any description relating to this.

Nor from Thornhill traveling west from before the scales right through to Kenney Street where finally we encountered a sign advising of this closure, the last possible opportunity for a traveler to turn north to get to highway 16.

The entire fiasco is a disgrace on so many levels it is difficult not to come up with even more acrimonious outrage!

The swerving traffic at the Frank Street crossing at highway 16, as drivers pull back onto the highway is likely going to cause an accident.

And these people get wages off of our tax dollars. the whole lot should be fired and replaced with people who can do a job properly.
Take back our streets
Comment by Rich on 11th June 2013
It is far past time that residents of Terrace are dictated to by big business. CN must be made to travel through our city safely. There is no benefit to Terrace residents with increases in train traffic to Prince Rupert. If city administration had any spine they would stop train traffic until a solution was in place. My thoughts are that this would only take an hour before CN came back with a solution that works.
Excessive noise
Comment by Terry on 11th June 2013
I wonder if anyone in northwest and south west terrace will miss the sound of the train wistle blowing them out of their sleep every time a train goes by . We need overpasses . The lack of them is bad for business . Cn is hurting terrace business . Cn just took away a third of our options in movement . Good for frank street area residents that have to listen to it . bad for terrace business growth . What an ironic twist of fate for the people for a change .