Friday, March 26, 2021

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach raises concerns of dangerous goods rail traffic across Northwest BC

A topic of some note for  a growing number of communities across Northwestern British Columbia got some attention on Thursday as MP Taylor Bachrach raised a number of themes related to rail safety across CN's Northern Corridor. 

With the MP speaking during a Transportation Committee session towards many of the themes that have been raised by residents and local governments from communities along the main line.

Noting of the increase in dangerous goods being transported along the northern line between Prince George and Prince Rupert and the prospect of more terminal projects to come in the future that could see those numbers increase, the MP observed of some of the dangers associated to the transit of goods by rail.

Taylor Bachrach the NDP MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley
spoke to rail safet in a Committee session on Thursday

Speaking towards the potential for derailments and other safety issues he relayed the call from local and regional governments for a Regional Risk Assessment to be conducted  by the Minister of Transportation.

"They want to know about the accident frequency and responses since the year 2000, they want to know about evacuation plans for emergency response services and business and the public within dangerous goods evacuation zones, they want to know about the response times, they want to know about what role local fire departments will be asked to play, there are so many questions."

The MP cited a number of past reports, as well as the current level of concern in the region along with the increasing levels of transits of dangerous goods as part of his request for the Minister to initiate and conduct the assessment.

In reply Minister Omar Alghabra  did not commit to the Risk Assessment request for the moment and offered up a list of some of the measures which have been added to the safety protocols in recent times.

"Let me commit to you and to my colleagues on this committee that we are committed and that we are determined on doing everything that we can to maintain rail safety"

Mr. Bachrach returned to the range of themes of note for him, highlighted by the lack of follow up on past audits on rail safety

"Most people would find it shocking given the stakes,  that after eight years not every recommendation in the audit has been addressed this is not acceptable"

Mr. Bachrach has provided a video review of the exchange from the Committee session, you can review the full discussion from the Committee session below:

Earlier this year, CN Rail released some background on their continuing efforts towards Rail Safety along the Northern BC corridor. 

That through their Winter Plan documentation.

For notes related to CN Rail across the Northwest see our archive page here.

Notes related to  Mr. Bachrach's work in the House of Common's can be reviewed here.

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