train safety

Council backs call for railway safety inquiry

Concerns raised about transport of flammable products

The District of Houston has added its voice to calls wanting an inquiry into safety along the CN line in the northwest in light of increasing shipments of propane and other flammable products.

The inquiry call, being made to federal transport minister Marc Garneau, follows correspondence from two local residents.

Carlie Kearns and Cindy Verbeek, the project coordinator for the Buck Creek CANFOR Hatchery, noted that 50 to 60 propane tank cars are now travelling each day to a Prince Rupert terminal owed by AltaGas and Vopak Canada, a subsidiary of a Dutch company of the same name.

Vopak now wants another terminal at Prince Rupert, this time one that can handle 240 rail cars a day of various fuel products. And a Vancouver-based company called Pacific Traverse Energy is advancing on a plan to build an export facility at Kitimat accepting 50 to 60 rail cars a day of liquefied petroleum products.

“The extent of the area to be evacuated in the event of a potential propane explosion from a derailment in Houston would include all of the downtown area including the firehall, schools, ambulance, Health Centre and Search and Rescue,” noted Kearns and Verbeek in their correspondence to council.

Council considered the request at its Oct. 6 meeting, agreeing to write Garneau requesting a risk assessment under the Railway Safety Act.

Council’s move follows along with its continued lobbying over the years for safety improvements and other measures at level crossings within the community.

Just this year the District applied for federal money to install crossing arms and warning signals at the Benson Ave. crossing. That application is for $255,230 which would be matched by the District’s own money.

A similar request made to the Terrace city council last month for a letter to be sent to Garneau was rejected.

The North West Watch Society told Terrace city council that mandatory environmental impact assessments of the proposed export projects would not extend to consider the rail lines upon which goods for the proposed projects would travel.

“The only environmental assessment that’s being done is for the propane terminals themselves, so the transport of dangerous goods along the river, through towns, through avalanche zones and flood zones is not being considered in this environmental assessment,” society representative Anne Hill told council.

“I think this is just an effort to stall projects, move goal posts and use city council as a political tool to make a political statement on this project,” Terrace city councillor James Cordeiro said during debate regarding the request.

(with files from Jake Wray)

Just Posted

Jill Mackenzie carefully replaces books on the shelves at the Houston Public Library. (Angelique Houlihan photo)
District approves annual library grant

Craft kits featured for summer reading club

The tradition of Houston Christian School grads giving Bibles to incoming kindergarten students will take place this year, but outdoors and in a modified fashion. (File photo)
Houston Christian School grad day is June 24

Grads themselves have set tone for the day, says teacher

Scott Richmond will be starting as the new vice principal for HSS and TSE. (Submitted/Houston Today)
Houston gets a new vice principal

Scott Richmond takes over from Dwayne Anderson who moved to Smithers

A Pacific Salmon Foundation grant of $3,000 is going towards the tree plantations. (Cindy Verbeek photo/Houston Today)
550 trees planted in Houston through A Rocha

Houston Christian School students and volunteers help with the tree planting

Currently the Houston station has 16 paramedics, two ambulances and one community paramedic vehicle. (File photo)
Retirement of longtime paramedics worries Houston community

“No loss of service,” assures BC Emergency Health Services

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read