NEWS RELEASE · 14th June 2013
MP Nathan Cullen - Ottawa
Dear Emily Hamer, Transport Canada and Mayor Pernarowski,
I am writing to you today, to voice the concerns that I and many in the region have about freight rail traffic in northwestern BC. Their concerns are not new. Yet, they take on greater meaning and significance, as freight rail traffic increases in the region.
On June 11th, 2013 the City of Terrace released that CN crews were installing barriers to immediately close the Frank Street crossing.
The crossing was one of three vital links to the growing industrial sector and south side of the city. Its closure just increases the risk of a serious accident occurring on the already congested Kenney crossing and Sande overpass.
The closing of the Frank Street crossing reveals that the federal government and CN Rail are not listening to the needs of the local businesses, or residents.
CN Rail and the federal government need to work with local communities to help them adapt to the growing freight rail traffic in northwestern BC. Last March, the federal government announced $90 million for Prince Rupertís rail, road and utility corridor project. Despite this
positive contribution to Prince Rupert, we are still waiting to see if any money will be available to assist other communities, like Terrace, that lie along the path to this corridor.
Blockages of railway crossings are not a new problem in northwestern BC. Residents throughout the northwestern BC have voiced their frustration to my offices at being stopped at the tracks. Some of these crossings are the only roads in or out of communities. This leaves some residence waiting up to 100 minutes for a train to move off the crossing. As freight traffic increases with every new investment in the region, so too will incidence of trains stalling or coming to a full stop. There will also be a greater need to ensure that all rail crossing remain safe for local residents.
It is time for CN Rail and Transport Canada to come to the table with local communities and work out a solution before lives are lost. As freight rail traffic increases over the next couple of months, there will be an even greater need for a discussion to occur between CN Rail, Transport Canada and local communities and residents. That is why I am inviting Transport Canada, CN Rail and the Terrace City Council to come to the table and have a discussion on this pressing issue. Together we can make our communities safer, while providing the services that are needed in the region.
Please feel free to contact me or one of my offices should you have any questions or concerns about freight traffic or any other issue.
All the best,
MP Skeena-Bulkley Valley
Comment by James Ippel on 15th June 2013
I feel comforted that Mr. Cullen has expressed concern over the issue of the closing of the Frank Street Crossing.
It is vitally important that CN Rail make a major contribution, or all the costs for the building of an Overpass. After all, it is in their mandate to elliminate all level crossings.
Having said that, why did they put in a new level crossing to give them access to the Kitsumkalum Quarry? There are two obvious reasons for this. One: it gives them access to much needed prime quality rock, and second, it is a great benefit to the Kitsumkalum Band. No consideration appears to have been given to the traffic on Hwy 16, who will be held up when trains enter and leave the Quarry. Who are the prime benefactors of this action? Not the travelling public, but rather a large corporation and a small segment of our society. I am satisfied that Kitsumkalum Quarry now has a reliable customer for their product, but why was an overpass not built to avoid traffic interuption on Hwy 16?????
Comment by Dave B on 14th June 2013
Besides requesting them to meet with Terrace City Council - there are other problem areas in your riding represented by the Regional Districts of Kitimat Stikine, Bulkley Nechako and Skeena Queen Charlotte and the municipalities within - there should be demanded not only from your level, and has already been done from RDKS - all affected areas screaming for a resolution. Whether it should go through/from groups like the NCGLA, UBCM and FCM I don't know but "they" do not seem to get the message!!
Thank you Nathan
Comment by Southside resident on 14th June 2013
It is so frustrating to live on the southside and have our main route cut by 30% without any notice or alternative.
Kenney Steet is my crossing of choice for work and other use, everyday. Often times I have to head to the complete other end of town, on the southside, to get to my place of work on time. More wear and tear on my vehicle, more time and more gas cost to me to ensure my safety. If I want to bike to work, that route is safer, but not practical.
Increased traffic on the Sande Overpass and Kenney St, especially with transport and logging trucks will be challenging for everyone. I truly hope no one is hurt from an accident or frustration but I fear the worst.
We need all parties to come to a table and get this situation fixed before someone does get hurt.