Reference

What's New

Railways and Cities Working Together

(May 2004)

EDMONTON, May 31, 2004 - Canada's municipal governments and railways launched a joint website Monday afternoon that provides a storehouse of information on freight and passenger railways, the communities they serve, contacts in both, and the efforts underway to prevent, or resolve, proximity issues they face together.

The site, www.proximityissues.ca, was launched at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' annual conference as part of a progress report by the project's co-chairs Cynthia Lulham, Westmount councillor, and John Dalzell, CN's vice-president of risk management.

Mayor John Trasolini of Port Moody, city manager Gaetan Royer, and Canadian Pacific Railway community relations manager Rick Poznikoff traced their efforts at dispute resolution through a case study. It helped them understand each other's needs and processes, and the steps they took " forward, backward and sideways" in "enlightened self-interest."

"There was a lack of communication, as much as there was good intentions, between the railway and the community at large. Lack of information usually leads to mistrust," said Mayor Trasolini. "Port Moody is a city that relies heavily on community participation, tasks forces, and general public participation in civic government. The implementation of a Community Advisory Panel by both the railway and the city is what finally sweetened sour relations."

He says the people of Port Moody came to understand that "railways have to be there; they provide a very important function?and residents have a right to live in peace. We have to co-exist.

Proximity issues can range from the effect of noise and vibrations of train operations and idling locomotives on people living too close to the tracks, to blocked highway/railway crossings, and land use or zoning concerns. "Railways serve their customers, passenger and freight, through a network of railway connections that, by nature, can involve many communities along the line. Keeping traffic moving smoothly, and safely, is the key to everyone?s success," said Mr. Poznikoff.

The FCM represents 1,100 municipal governments from coast to coast, to coast, and the 60-member Railway Association of Canada, virtually all the freight and passenger railways operating in Canada. Canada's railways carry more than 321 billion revenue tonne kilometers of domestic and international freight and 54 million passengers and rail commuters annually.

Contact Information:

Massimo Bergamini
Federation of Canadian Municipalities
613-241-5221 ext. 247

Roger Cameron
Railway Association of Canada
613-564-8097
rogerc@railcan.ca