Tuesday, April 06, 2010

 

BC Rail in action. Don't try to tell people that BC Rail is fit only to be swept under the rug at the Ministry of Transportation ... the very ministry which botched the original corrupt deal

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City applies for railway ties fire order


Williams Lake Tribune - Published: April 06, 2010

The piles of chipped creosote-soaked rail ties near the River Valley may soon be a thing of the past.

Brian Carruthers, chief administrative officer for the City, says BC Rail Properties has advised the City it is in the process of canceling the lease it has with CN Rail as a result of the environmental situation occurring at the site owned by BC Rail. The City is also in the process of applying to the fire commissioner’s office for an order with respect to the storage of wood material, which is in non-compliance with the fire code. That order, Carruthers says, could be issued as early as today.

“Certainly they (BC Rail) don’t want anything bad to come of that situation either, so they’ve taken that step,” Carruthers says. “I’m confident that CN Rail is going to do the right thing and will relocate that material, hopefully as soon as possible, so we can alleviate all of the community’s concerns.”

{Snip} ...

Concerns with respect to the CN rail tie disposal activities include: potential health risks from airborne creosote and associated chemicals resulting from the chipping and storage of chops in proximity to the downtown, potential for fire and associated smoke hazards due to the volume and location of the chip piles, and potential health threats associated with the burning of creosote-soaked wood in the power plant.

City staff began investigating the concerns and have been in communication with the Ministry of Environment, which permits emissions and monitors air quality; BC Rail, which owns the property on which the ties are chipped and stored; and Capital Power, which had been burning the chips in its co-generation power plant.

In response to the concerns raised by members of the community, Capital Power announced it would immediately stop receiving creosote-soaked rail tie chips in its Williams Lake facility.

The chips in question account for approximately four per cent of its fibre supply so there is no impact to Capital Power’s operation as a result of this decision.

It’s not yet know[n] where the material will be taken to instead.

CN Rail says it is currently looking for another approved facility to take the ties.

“In the mean time, we’re just keeping our fingers crossed,” Carruthers says, adding that the proximity of the wood chips and wood piles to the grass and trees on the edge of the River Valley is “very concerning” to the City.

“It’s not uncommon to have fires along that stretch of the city,” he says. “We could have a really serious situation, so we’re really eager to get this dealt with.”

While the City hopes to have the order issued today, on Thursday, Carruthers said the City still needed the fire commissioner’s approval.

He says the City will work with the fire commissioner on what’s a reasonable timeframe to have the material removed.

“I would think that we would try and do it within 30 days,” he says. “That would be my preference, but again we’ll consult with the fire commissioner on that.”

The land is currently zoned park. If the chipping activity began after the land was rezoned park, then the activity would be non-compliant with the zoning. If it was being done before the land was rezoned, then the activity would have been grandfathered in.

“A municipality can’t rezone somebody out of existence,” Carruthers explains, adding that the City hasn’t yet been able to discover when the activity started in relation to when the property was rezoned.

Regardless, he says the City has “strong tools” at its disposal with respect to the lease being cancelled by BC Rail and with the City applying to have an order issued to address the storage of the rail ties.

Read the full report HERE. Just sayin', that's all ...


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Cariboo loses more rail jobs

March 27, 2009

"Reduced service and lost jobs are part of the ongoing fallout of B.C. Rail sale," say New Democrats

WILLIAMS LAKE - News that the Cariboo is losing more rail jobs is part of the ongoing fallout from Gordon Campbell's broken promise not to sell off B.C. Rail, say the New Democrats.

"Five years after the sale of B.C. Rail, our region is still feeling the impact of Campbell's broken promise," said Cariboo South MLA Charlie Wyse after learning that six rail jobs are being transferred out of Williams Lake and a seventh is being transferred out of Lillooet.

"When he sold B.C. Rail, Gordon Campbell claimed it would be good for our economy," said Wyse. "That turned out to be another broken Campbell promise to the people of our region. The truth is the legacy of the sale has been job losses, service reductions, and damage to forestry, ranching, tourism and other key industries."

Yale-Lillooet MLA Harry Lali said the controversial sale of B.C. Rail - which is now mired in scandal - shows that Gordon Campbell puts his corporate friends ahead of his promises to rural B.C.

"Campbell's broken promise has been a disaster for the Interior," said Lali. "People here are paying the price, and it's outrageous that they still can't get answers from the Campbell Liberals about the secret backroom dealings that led to this sale."

John Holliday, General Chairman of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, said that C.N. is breaking their own rules by moving jobs out of Williams Lake and Lillooet.

"C.N. is breaking agreements with this decision," said Holliday. "This is another example of a long line of broken promises stemming from the Campbell government's sale of B.C. Rail."

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Comments:
I am not too handy with the keyboard and how to post things or send items to you but there is an interesting article about a little railway in Pennsyvania of all places in the April 6 Edmonton Journal. It describes their windfall due to transporting fracturing sand to natural gas operators there. Think of how BCR could have been used for this at the Horn River area north of Fort Nelson. CN can't provide good enough service for this and is gouging customers on detention charges, so most of it is now moving by truck. The line is also down to about a 10 mile per hour speed limit for most of the way so they have effectively killed the service. If someone tells me how to email the item I will attempt it.
 
cfvua:

Thanks for spotting that story ... and if you can give me the headline for the story I think I can find it with Google.

I did search Edmonton Journal and found a different story about CN's poor shipping performance:

Angry shippers seek action on damning rail reports ...

did you see that one?

Seems to me that if CN's performance slips again, they could be in breach of their BCR - CN Lease Agreement.
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No didn't see that one, I don't think. The one I have is titled "shale gas boom energizes quiet corner of Pennsylvania".
Does anyone have any info on the attempt that BCR made looking for operators for the Fort Nelson subdivision shortly before the big giveaway. They advertized in the North for RFPs to operate everything north of the Fort St. John yard, but I guess it made more sense to give away the whole thing. It would be an interesting post on this site as you look at the history of it.
 
cfvua

here is the URL for the Pennsylvania story:

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/business/Shale+boom+energizes+quiet+corner+Pennsylvania/2768091/story.html?id=2768091
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Don't expect CN to honour their part of the contract, it ain't gonna happen.

This site is a real eye-opener when it comes to CN, I imagine they're having kittens with some of the issues the blogger writes about...for instance:

"He wants a spot on the board so his lawyer will be paid for the lawsuit aginst the BC govt and the purchase of the BC rail. CN paid off officials in BC government to leak the bids on the BC rail and won the purchase with this knowledge. HH may bring the BC government down over this, but then again that don't bother him just the fact he may have to dig into his own money for a lawyer."

In this case HH is Hunter Harrison, the whole site is worth spending much time on. Thanks for link Anon!! It gives us a much clearer picture of just how damaging this "controlled theft" (IMHO) was.

http://cnron.blogspot.com/2009/07/hunter-harrison.html
 
Don't expect CN to honour their part of the contract, it ain't gonna happen.

This site is a real eye-opener when it comes to CN, I imagine they're having kittens with some of the issues the blogger writes about...for instance:

"He wants a spot on the board so his lawyer will be paid for the lawsuit aginst the BC govt and the purchase of the BC rail. CN paid off officials in BC government to leak the bids on the BC rail and won the purchase with this knowledge. HH may bring the BC government down over this, but then again that don't bother him just the fact he may have to dig into his own money for a lawyer."

In this case HH is Hunter Harrison, the whole site is worth spending much time on. Thanks for link Anon!! It gives us a much clearer picture of just how damaging this "controlled theft" (IMHO) was.

http://cnron.blogspot.com/2009/07/hunter-harrison.html
 
Hmm, a second thought came to me about the but about HH....

If he and/or CN's legal staff are prepared to bring down the BC government in order to keep themselves from being charged (a la Bornmann), then that means that they would also forfeit the ill-gotten gains, i.e. the acquisition of BC Rail's operations et al. The contract would be nixed because it had been corrupt.....so much bigger things must be at stake than merely one regional branch of a transcontinental railway...much bigger things....(their stock value could be salvaged by such a coming-clean, but it would still be damaged - but not so much as a wholesale indictment of the WHOLE corporation...and its board).

Of course, that's if our courts act on the proof that the sale was not just tainted, but down and dirty corrupt. But given the way they've already not done f-all about criminal wrongdoing that's come up in evidentiary pre-trial hearings, that's not all too likely.

Unless CNron is implying that there may be court actions in another jurisdiction. Perhaps, and most likely, in a jurisdiction where publications bans are not invoked to protect either the jury or the politicians connected to the case.

CNRon if you're reading this please elucidate....
 
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