Town to discuss trespassing with CN

While CN has indicated it would like to partner with the town in order to address trespassing on railroad property here, Mayor Dan Onichuk said the town should be asking a few questions first.
At Monday night’s council meeting, the mayor expressed concern over the term “trespassing” on CN property when, in some cases, pedestrians trying to get to or from the north end of town have no choice but to cross the tracks.
Mayor Onichuk noted many people have done it for years—and continue to do so for the same reason.
“And if I’m walking through the bush, and I come across a rail, am I supposed to just follow it until a find a proper crossing?” he asked.
The mayor noted while there’s no doubt trains can be dangerous, crossing the tracks when no train is in sight should not be considered “trespassing” when there’s no walkways going over, or under, the tracks, except at Portage Avenue.
The mayor also said he was reluctant to get into a “partnership” with CN if it would mean footing any of the bill.
But Operations and Facilities manager Doug Brown said CN is interested in putting up fencing along the tracks in town, and that the town only would be responsible for maintaining that fencing over the years.
But the mayor responded by saying fencing doesn’t address the problem of north-south access, adding CN should heed the Northern Action Group’s idea to have walkways either above, or below, the tracks at various crossings.
He suggested Armit Avenue would be a good spot for a walkway because it is central.
“I don’t now if [fencing] is going to correct the problem or create a different problem,” added Mayor Onichuk, saying it’s possible a child could slip over a fence while cutting the tracks to go to school, then find themselves trapped if they can’t get over the fence on the other side.
Council directed Brown to schedule a meeting with CN to discuss the issue, but make no commitment at this time to partner with the company.
Such a meeting also would be a good time to talk to CN about other issues.
Problems such as long waits at rail crossings here have been the topic of discussion at numerous council meetings over the past two years, as well as among town residents.

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