Monday, June 5, 2017

CN Fence to stay up; discussions to continue between railway and City

Mayor Brain, Councillor Niesh
and CN Rail VP Sean Finn
met in Ottawa last week 
A short note on Mayor Lee Brain's Facebook page has offered up a glimpse into a recent conversation between City of Prince Rupert representatives and an official for Canadian National Railway.

On Saturday Mayor Brain in Ottawa for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities convention, provided his impressions culled from an exchange with Mr. Sean Finn, the Executive Vice-President of Corporate Services and Chief Legal Officer for CN regarding the fence that currently is in place to the west of the lightering dock on the city's waterfront.

Describing the session that he and Councillor Niesh held as "very collaborative and positive" and one that explored future uses for the property, the Mayor noted that he and Mr. Niesh had "made it very clear how the community feels about this issue", adding that the city representatives had "brought forward a number of solutions that could be seen as a win-win for all stakeholders."

According to Mayor Brain, the CN VP has agreed to enter into a long term discussion with the City regarding the issue, Mr. Brain also indicated that CN will conduct an internal assessment of the property among their Operations team.

While CN explores its internal process, Mayor Brain notes that the City and the railway will collaborate on conducting further environmental testing of the site as they both look to determine the contamination concerns that are of note for the stretch of shoreline behind the fence.

The fence will remain up on the waterfront this weekend as the City and CN continue
their discussions related to future access to the shoreline east of the lightering dock

As for the fence, it will remain in place owing to public health and safety reasons.

With that in mind the mayor also asked that community members to stay off the beach due to health, safety and legal reasons, particularly on Seafest Sunday June11th.

The Mayor also outlined the nature of the temporary solution related to waterfront events, a plan which will see the activities shift their focus to the east of the lightering dock with the use of an extended dock off that facility.

Mr. Brain concluded his short synopsis of the exchange with the CN officials by noting that moving forward on the issue, he would be communicating directly with Mr. Finn on an on-going basis, thanking CN for their willingness to hear the community and asking for the patience and understanding of residents on the matter.

To this point, the fence advisory for the public from Mr. Brain has only been relayed through the Mayor's social media platform, with no advisories provided to the official City website, or the City's reange of social media streams.

Mr. Brain offered no timeline through his statement as to when that ongoing dialogue with the railway is expected to next take place.

As well, there was no indication as to what kind of schedule is in place for the review of the environmental testing for the site and what the anticipated cost of that review for the city might be.

The full statement taken from his Facebook page can be reviewed below:

More notes related to CN Rail activities on the North coast can be found on our archive page here.

For items related to City council discussion topics see our City Council archive page here.

Update: The City included an advisory to the city website later on Monday morning.


  1. Underneath the rap about "what could be seen as win-win" (but probably isn't) it looks like the City should Re:Think its position on access to CN waterfront land. Hopefully in time there will also be a Re:Design and Re:Build of the adjacent sewer outfall that probably has something to do with the health and legal concerns.

    1. Can someone say they have a hate on for the mayor much? NCR and BTravenn aka 'the Lee Brain' haters club!

    2. Can't exactly see your point here, it's a simple account of the facts as relayed by the Mayor. Honestly, part of being a politician is to expect that your work is going to be examined and reviewed.


  2. Lol at the previous comments. I'm more astounded that this wasn't made a thing when the fence was put up in October. Starting your crusade against CN two weeks before the events are slated to occur is hilarious, and the outrage even more so. The city should have worked in October to address the situation. However for all I know they were trying to do this, and CN was at an impasse. hopefully for 2018 we'll have a better plan to address the thing.

    As for the "haters club," well I know a lot of former rupertites (myself included!) are concerned with the direction that the city is going under the current council's leadership. As it turns out, there are also many in Rupert who feel the same way. I actually really like some of the council's initiatives, such as the McKay Street Park, and the various plans to redevelop rundown space in the city, however I find myself at odds with the smoke and mirrors around council meetings/watson island, and the fact we're not putting a focus on the infrastructure in the city which is crumbling at a disconcerting rate. While I admit this blog is critical of the city government, there's nothing wrong with a critical tone when it comes to your government, as long as you contrast it with the other side and decide for yourself.

  3. As a current resident who spends a lot of time talking to people I feel the opposite. Personally I hear nothing but good things coming from residents about what this council is doing. I like seeing this young man going straight to the top of CN and fighting for this community, something that clearly his constituents want him to do. That’s his job, to listen and respond to what the community wants. Clearly it’s being well received.

    I don’t know about you, but I elect people to do a job. I don’t need or want to be involved in every decision that is made or what types of arrangements are being sorted out behind the scenes. No, not every decision should be made in public.

    What I do like to see is the mill being torn down. Don’t remember the last council to crack that nut.

    I like seeing our water supply being upgraded, contrary to the previous commenter who says they aren’t focusing on the big infrastructure problems.

    Downtown is looking fantastic. I like seeing the rally call for the park, and contrary to the first commenter I find all the Re: initiatives sparking life back into our once sleepy town. I see results and that makes me proud to live here.

    Being critical is a great thing, but I think there's a difference between being critical and consistently finding fault with all decisions being made, I believe that's called being biased.

    Jason S.

  4. There's quite a range of opinions, some very strongly held.