Kamloops and CP Rail in dispute over future of two downtown crossings

Posted on: September 26th, 2018 by
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A long-running disagreement between CP Rail and the City of Kamloops over two downtown rail crossings has now spilled into the public.

“I wasn’t trying to get in a public bun fight with a major national rail line…but obviously in the last day it’s heated up,” said Kamloops Mayor Peter Milobar.

At issue are railway crossings at 2nd and 3rd Avenue north of Lansdowne. CP Rail is asking Transport Canada to consider closing them.

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“Trespassing problems worsened at these locations with the recent business openings, and become dangerous during events in the Interior Savings Centre and Riverfront Park,” CP Rail media relations advisor Salem Woodrow told CFJC News.

The crossings allow people access to Canadian Pacific’s rail yard, where crews shift.

However, shutting them down would mean only mean only two crossings to the waterfront from downtown Kamloops. That would limit access to the Sandman Centre (formerly the Interior Savings Centre), a new hotel, several restaurants and Riverside Park that are north of the rail line.

“We see them as critical links, and we don’t believe they should be closed,” says Milobar, adding that underpasses or overpasses to the crossings have been deemed unfeasible by city engineers.

“We’ve made lots of suggestions over the past few years, but CP’s rejected all of them. They just insist they want them closed.”

Milobar says this has been a longstanding point of contention between them and the city. Many years ago, CP offered land at Third and Lorne Street for a proposed new parkade – but only if the city closed the crossings.

“I think CP’s been very clear, to their credit, there’s no misunderstanding what they want for these intersections, [but] it would essentially be taking away 50 per cent of our rail crossings in downtown Kamloops,” says Milobar.

The mayor is pledging to continue working with Transport Canada and CP to find a solution.

“We’re more than willing to keep working with CP and Transport Canada to find productive safer solutions while still keeping those crossings open.”

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