Friday, April 23, 2010
Farmers, local governments call for better rail service in the Peace. "Right now, Dawson Creek is like a dead-end road on CN Rail," said the mayor ...
By Matthew Bains
Northeast News - April 22, 2010, P.12
Reprinted by kind permission of
Melanie Robinson, editor
DAWSON CREEK - Farmers and local government officials in the South Peace are not pleased with the quality of rail service offered by Canadian National.
Garnet Berge, area director for BC Grain Producers Association, said he is part of a committee looking at transportation issues affecting farmers. He said he is concerned about what he said is the deterioration of the line between Dawson Creek and Chetwynd.
"We're getting a little worried that if CN don't upgrade that line or keep it maintained from Chetwynd to Dawson Creek, we might lose that, and if we do, we'll be trucking our grain to Rycroft or Spirit River which we don't want to do ... "
He said that rail is the most efficient and cost-effective way for farmers to ship their products, but that there is no alternative besides CN and he said that the service is poor.
"It's car service," said Berge. "They'll come in and drop cars off on a Friday at 4:00 PM, and the elevators in the winter aren't really open, but they'll want them [the cars] loaded that weekend. Then CN doesn't show up until Monday morning and the guys in the meantime have worked overtime to load all these cars up ... "
The Peace River Regional District also has concerns and have made a joint submission with their local government counterparts in the Alberta Peace Region to a Rail Service Review Panel [see below] initiated by the federal Ministry of Transportation. Dawson Creek mayor Mike Bernier worked with Charles Johnson, councillor for Clear Hills County, on that submission.
Bernier said that one of their concerns was the state of the line between Dawson Creek and Hythe, Alberta. He said he was under the impression that when BC Rail was sold to CN, part of that agreement stipulated that line was to stay open for 5 years" [YooHoo, Mr Krog, BC Opposition Justice Critic?! What did we tell you, last July 14, 2009? And what did you do? Nothing. - BC Mary.]
"However, upgrades were never done and the train trestles were allowed to deteriorate, making the line unusable.
"Right now, Dawson Creek is like a dead-end road on CN Rail," said the mayor. "We can't get all the people in Grande Prairie, Rycroft, and Spirit River -- all of them who have grain -- have to drive it from their locations to Dawson Creek to put it on our rail cars."
He said with upgrades to the rail lines in the Peace, the region could utilize the expanded port capacities at the terminal at Prince Rupert via the inland container port in Prince George. He added rail would be significantly beneficial to the entire northeast region ...
He said investments in rail lines need to be made now instead of waiting for them to get to the point where CN would just shut them down.
"We've got one of the biggest agricultural hubs in British Columbia and Alberta," he said. "We're trying to make sure that it [gets] their attention now and not waiting until it deteriorates any more."
CN could not be reached for comment at press time.
I looked up the biographies of the 3 men selected for the Rail Service Panel Review.
... Mr. Edison was appointed vice-president, Corporate, in July 2003 and led Canadian National Railway's consolidation and integration of the Canadian National Railway and BC Rail partnership. These responsibilities included train service adjustment, realignment of rail yards in North Vancouver, Squamish and Prince George, reconnection of Canadian National's Hythe-Dawson Creek line and workforce planning.
Prior to his retirement in late 2004, Mr. Edison was active on the boards of the Western Transportation Advisory Council, the Greater Vancouver Gateway Council and the Business Council of British Columbia.
Mr. Edison resides in Surrey, British Columbia.
Should the people of The Peace point out, without delay, that there may be a hopeless conflict of interest in this procedure??
* These kinds of default on the part of CN are deal-breakers, in my view. They provide reasonable grounds for BC Rail to repossess the line.
* An Opposition worthy of the name would be pressing the government to insist that CN fulfill its obligations to the people of the province [Hi, Mr Krog?] or, failing that, pressing the government to begin action to take back ownership of the railway operation.
Sincere thanks to Northeast News, published at Fort St John and Dawson Creek, B.C., for their informative report.
And to Anonymous for discovering the story in the first place.
So, Gordo, what do you intend on doing about this? Have your spin doctors fix it?
Why do they give up the moment they hear that there's a prospect of winning?
What's with that, anyway?
I mistook your "Burgess" name for your chosen User Name ...
now I see that it could be both of those things, as in "Burgess the anonymous writer of noxious comments".
I see your clever sense of humour. Your chosen name is well chosen. I think I know you in another, freelance guise. If not, then tell your PAB boss that you deserve a raise. You'll know the kind of raise I mean.
Burgess is a word in English that originally meant a freeman of a borough (England) or burgh (Scotland). It later came to mean an elected or un-elected official of a municipality, or the representative of a borough in the English House of Commons.
It was derived in Middle English and Middle Scots from the Old French word burgeis, simply meaning "an inhabitant of a town" (cf. burgeis or burges respectively). The Old French word burgeis is derived from bourg, meaning a market town or medieval village, itself derived from Late Latin burgus, meaning "fortress" or "wall". In effect, the reference was to the north-west European medieval and renaissance merchant class which tended to set-up their store fronts along the outside of the city wall, where traffic through the gates was an advantage and safety in event of an attack was easily accessible. The right to seek shelter within a burg was known as the right of burgess. [Ha ha ... good one, eh? - BC Mary]
The term was close in meaning to the Germanic term burgher, a formally defined class in medieval German cities, (Middle Dutch burgher and German Bürger). It is also linguistically close to the French term Bourgeois, which evolved from burgeis.
Ironically, the term is also related to burglar, though this developed in the opposite direction in terms of social respectability.
A million thanks for your discovery:
E.M has left a new comment on your post "Farmers, local governments call for better rail se...":
This is BIG if You don't know about it, I just about screamed YIPEE!!!!!
but I think you will understand why I'm planning to hold it back until the Basi Virk trial gets underway
and there's no risk of it being any kind of influence on their fair trial.
I hadn't seen the Reasons for Judgment on this appeal myself, and thank you sincerely for your vigilance.
I hate all this secrecy ... but if it's a question of preventing the undue spillover from one trial to another, I think we'll be glad we waited.
10.40 a.m. I do believe "Burgess" is on our payroll
as one of the faith full spinners. Joeyl