A push for Northcoast voices to be heard at upcoming rail safety hearings is on the agenda for Taylor Bachrach MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley, a press release stated on May 5.
Bachrach has been working across party lines in parliament to raise the issue of rail safety after increasing calls for action following recent reports from Canada’s Environment Commissioner and Auditor General. The result being that the House of Commons committee on Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities has agreed to hold hearings on the topic.
“We’ve heard from the Office of the Auditor-General that after previous audits, Transport Canada did not fully implement its recommendations,” Bachrach said. “That’s unacceptable. Having the parliamentary committee conduct hearings will help put pressure on the government to take immediate action.”
Bachrach said he has heard from residents and community leaders who are concerned about the preparedness in the Northwest.
“It’s also important that we hear directly from people on the ground here in the Northwest, which is why I’ll be pushing to have voices from our region included in the hearings.”
Rail safety on various levels has been an ongoing conversation in the North Coast region with the death of a CN Rail conductor in June of 2020 in Port Edward, as well as possible safe supply issues to the region in emergencies which have been highlighted with challenges of the pandemic.
“The railroad is an important economic driver for our region, but people want to know everything possible is being done to ensure safety. With the volume of dangerous goods like propane and diesel increasing, this is a pressing issue for a lot of folks,” Bachrach said.
The committee will commence hearings in the coming weeks and Bachrach has expressed his optimism that the work will force the government to improve safety standards.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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