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Pitt Meadows resident concerned about CP’s plans for third track

Resident says there is a lack of transparency about project
A rendering of the underpass at Harris Road. (Contributed)

A long-time Pitt Meadows resident is concerned that information about a third Canadian Pacific rail line being planned for the city is being kept hush and that it will contribute more noise and pollution to the area.

Heather Emmett, a 20 year resident of Pitt Meadows, said she is used to the sound of trains going by and has no issues with that.

But, she believes, there is a lack of transparency surrounding Canadian Pacific’s plans to build a third rail line and she is concerned about the possibility of added noise and pollution of trains sitting parked on the tracks right next to residential homes.

Recently, she said, she heard a noise and looked outside to find a train parked on the rails by her house.

“The amount of smoke, the fumes that was coming out of two diesel engines was incredible,” she said, adding that houses are just metres away from the rail right-of-way.

And, she said, work was done on the tracks during middle of the night starting April 15 without any notification from CP.

“It went all night long with their jack hammer,” said Emmett.

READ MORE: New rail underpass and overpass comes with costs

“It was the middle of the night, no notice, nobody knew how long or how many nights because it continued on for nights without telling us,” she noted.

In addition, added Emmett, CP won’t even say what side of the tracks they are putting the third line.

“In terms of the yard expansion, there’s no information and it’s like the best kept secret,” she said.

Then there is the possibility of the shunting of rail cars while trains are being built, Emmett said.

READ MORE: Council signs MOU for Pitt Meadows rail projects

“While people chose to live along the tracks, and yes the tracks have been there for a very long time, there was no way for residents to anticipate that a rail yard would be built in their backyard,” wrote Emmett in an email.

The third track is expected to run east from Harris Road to Maple Meadows Way, said Pitt Meadows Mayor Bill Dingwall, adding that it is in the best interest of the city to have this work, including the Harris Road Underpass and the Kennedy Road overpass, done.

The third line will be used for assisting to build longer trains, explained Dingwall, to transport goods that citizens across the country use on a daily basis.

Dingwall said council is working with CP to put fencing in place for noise mitigation.

CP apologized for the lack of notification about the track maintenance, he added.

“I think the project was only supposed to take two or three days and it took like five and they didn’t notify the residents that the work would be taking place nor the extension of the work,” said Dingwall.

“The only time they could do it was at nighttime because it’s the main lines for Canadian Pacific,” he added.

But, CP has a volume issue, noted Dingwall.

“With the population increasing here within the next 30 years by another million people, the volume of what [CP] are going to transport is going up. And that’s why their infrastructure isn’t sustainable to keep up with growth,” he said.

Dingwall is anticipating design concepts for the Kennedy Road overpass to be available sometime this month followed by those for the Harris Road underpass by September.

He is not sure if the third rail line will be on the north or south side of the existing tracks, but he said, once the design concepts come in they will provide more context around the look and feel of the project.

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Colleen Flanagan

About the Author: Colleen Flanagan

I got my start with Black Press Media in 2003 as a photojournalist.
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