County demands CN Rail ‘fast-track’ crossing repair

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

Northern Sunrise County is fed up with the inaction of CN Rail over repairs at a railway crossing in its boundaries and had a few choice words for the company at its Jan. 11 meeting.
“We’ve had a very tumultuous relationship,” Reeve Carolyn Kolebaba told Tyler Banick, manager, public and government affairs, CN Rail, who attended the meeting by Zoom.
“I’m concerned why we can’t resolve this.”
Kolebaba wrote CN Dec. 21, 2021 telling them they began working with CN to resolve the issue in 2019. Since then, she wrote the County has encountered nothing but “roadblocks” to get the work done.
To worsen matters, CN is not paying a penny for the project, which will be paid for by Northern Sunrise County. It only adds to the County’s frustration because they are paying the entire bill.
The crossing in question is at Mile 32.05 on the Peace River Subdivision in the Marie Reine – Judah ward at SW-26-81-21W5M. Upgrades need to be made to stop flooding at the crossing. Council is especially concerned with this year’s high snowfall and potential spring floods.
Kolebaba wrote three years of providing engineering reports to CN have gone nowhere.
“This is a winter project and one that we will not be able to pursue again, if we are not provided with the required approval immediately from CN. This means another year of landowners being flooded and our road networks being compromised.
“We have been attempting this with CN for the past three years and feel that we are being disregarded with multiple hoops to jump through and layers of bureaucracy to try and navigate.”
Banick told council he only saw an official application for the project Nov. 9, 2021.
“Our team is actively reviewing the application,” he said.
“It is moving forward.”
Kolebaba warned Banick it had better be true.
“[Or] we need to talk to someone else. We’re getting nowhere with this. It needs to change. How are we going to deal with this?”
Marie Reine – Judah Councillor Dan Boisvert asked Banick for a timeline.
“Are we back on track to get this project done this winter?” he asked.
“It looks on paper to be pretty close. . .” replied Banick.
“It’s a heavy snow year,” advised Boisvert.
“We expect heavy drainage.”
Banick added personnel transfers within CN may have been the reason the project was delayed. He added resources were recently sent to British Columbia to deal with their floods.
“But they’re back,” said Banick.
Three Creeks – Wesley Creek Councillor Corinna Williams pushed for a commitment from CN.
“How are we to be assured?” she asked.
“This is the second or third time we’re being told this,” she added. “How can we be assured this doesn’t happen again?”
Banick replied the difference this time was the application was filed Nov. 9.
Kolebaba told Banick council would visit Sean Finn, CN’s executive vice-president, corporate services, if the project did not move forward soon.
“I apologize for the delay,” Banick told council.
“If we don’t see any action at the end of January, we’ll go see Sean,” said Kolebaba.
“This is unacceptable. Please relay that message,” she concluded.
“You’re right. Three years is a long time. I hear you loud and clear,” said Banick.
Kolebaba asked Banick for CN to forward the County CN’s rules and regulations regarding projects to avoid confusion in the future.
Banick promised to provide the documents to Northern Sunrise.

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