Friday, October 7, 2016

New Fences ... don't make for popular Neighbours

The last entry point to the waterfront
west of Kwinitsa has now been closed off
It didn't take long for word to spread through social media in Prince Rupert on Thursday, as work crews began to put in place the last of the fencing to put distance between residents of the city and the Canadian National freight yard that dominates the city's waterfront.

With the chain link fencing and posts, comes a new barrier for those residents, making for some of the last of the waterfront access that they had to the west of the Lightering dock now off limits.

Through the day, Rupertites wandered on down to the Kwinitsa station area to take their own snapshots and thoughts of the work, sending them to their social media accounts of Facebook, twitter, Instagram and other portals.

Some sharing their concerns on the end of access to that particular stretch along the harbour, highlighting the ever present discussion in the community when it comes to industrial development and public space.

CN Rail has been building fences
and restricting access to their waterfront
area over the last few years now
In recent years, CN has slowly but surely been fencing off much of the access points to the rail yard along the waterfront. Starting with a chain link fence that was put in place a few years back along the rail tracks, as well as across the roadway that runs parallel to it.

The latest move to finish the process perhaps coming as part of increased measures by the railway to enforce its railway safety policies across the region, particularly in light of the two recent deaths along rail tracks in the Terrace area.

So far there has been no statement released by the railway through their website or twitter feed to explain the new measures, but whatever they may have to say, it would seem that for more than a few residents the moves from the railway are not welcome.

Mayor Lee Brain outlined
the city's stance on the issue
through his Facebook page
Mayor Lee Brain tapped into some of the commentary in the community yesterday, choosing to use his Facebook portal over the City website on Thursday to offer up some comments on behalf of the City related to the moves by CN.

Noting that the City does not have jurisdiction over the area in question, he observed that CN's position is that there is a danger involved in have the public in an area that is potentially unsafe.

Among the notes the Mayor offered up on the arrival of the new fencing, the engagement that the City has sought  to work with CN to retain that stretch of the waterfront and how he believes that there are creative solutions to make that waterfront area safe for public access.

He also outlined the City's hopes to increase access in areas that they do have control over and pointed to such areas as the Cow Bay Dock and breakwater as steps that the City has taken towards those goals.

We have reached out to multiple contacts at CN to advocate for the maintenance of beach access for this area over the past few years, and offered to work with them to remediate and develop that area for public access. Our offer for City staff to work with CN’s environmental team to analyze and develop remediation options for the site stands, and we hope that CN will work with us so that we can retain this small stretch of beach. 

The City does not have jurisdiction over this particular area, as it’s not our land. However, we are absolutely committed to increasing waterfront access to the areas that we can control, like we have done with the breakwater at the Cow Bay Marina, and are looking at improvements to be made in other public areas as well. -- From a statement from Mayor Lee Brain through Facebook

The difference of opinion between the City and CN, or with the Port of Prince Rupert for that matter, is not a new one.  With the topic a recurring theme over the years for previous City Council's, particularly as the success of the Fairview Container Terminal and other Port related industry brought life back to a waterfront rail yard that for many years almost appeared to be abandoned.

Some of the past discussions on the theme can be found below:

January 2014 -- City Council to seek session with the Port on waterfront issues
December 2013 -- Thanks for the payment, now about that waterfront access ...
November 2013 -- Councillor seeks meeting with CN over waterfront issues
October 2012 -- The Mayor adds Canadian National to his invitation list
October 2012 -- Waterfront land use the focus at Chamber of Commerce luncheon
October 2012 -- Waterfront access once again a hot topic around Prince Rupert

No comments:

Post a Comment