Falcon’s follies: Gateway,SFPR and the Railgate connection.

It was a very sunny day in September 2006, when Premier Gordon Campbell arrived for the grand opening of Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus, smack dab in the heart of Whalley. Despite the demands of his busy schedule, Campbell did make time to sit with local reporter, Tom Zytaruk… and what a revealing interview it was, indeed.

Campbell, in town to open the SFU campus on Friday, said his government is concentrating on building up this side of the river to reduce the need for commuting to Vancouver.

” It’s building a critical mass of urban commercial cultural activities here.” he said. ” There is a perception that everyone is going from here( Surrey) to there ( Vancouver). This is a perception founded in 1982. In reality, people are coming from there to here.”

 The massive Gateway  project aimed at improving the transportation of goods on this side of the Fraser through initiatives like the South Fraser Perimeter Road, says Campbell, isn’t progressing fast enough.

” I’d like it faster,” he said. ” We need to move on it. We’re further behind this year than we were last year. Every year that we wait generates additional costs,additional negative impacts.”

Of particular importance in the above excerpt is that Campbell talks about his governments concentrated efforts to build up development south of the Fraser, and the Gateway project-South Fraser Perimeter Road, in the same breath.

Why this is so important? I’ll tell you.

 Instead of winding down B.C. Rail as was the agenda of government at the time of the “sale”,former Minister of Transportation, Kevin Falcon, went on to give B.C. Rail a new mandate to develop Gateway access to B.C. ports for container rail traffic. Largely unknown to most of the general public until media reports of testimony last year in the Basi-Virk trial addressed the new mandate, what was a revelation to many, was in fact part of what many believe was part of the concentrated effort to  assist in building up development south of the Fraser River.

The  mandate and agenda presented in  the 2005-2007 service plan for BC rail appears as it was intended : the rail line and it’s subsidiaries would dispose of the bulk of its holdings over a period of time, slowing winding down. http://www.bcrco.com/2005serveplan.pdf 

After all, as the government continues to contend, BC rail was laden with debt, a massive burden to the province.

However, the 2007-2009 service plans indicates clearly Falcon’s change of mandate which orders BC rail to get in line and assist the Asia-Pacific Gateway strategy – a must read if there ever was one. In fact, the service plan states the new mandate was introduced early in 2006, which happens  also to be when former transportation minister Kevin Falcon and premier Campbell released the Gateway program information report.  

 It wasn’t until McCullough had Brian Kenning, a former BC rail board member,on the stand in the Basi- Virk trial last fall, that the  majority of the general public first heard about that change of mandate outlined above -the following from an article by Keith Fraser :

The details came out during the third day of cross-examination of former B.C. Rail board member Brian Kenning.

In 2008, five years after the Crown corporation had been largely sold off, a number of B.C. Rail executives flew to other key ports, including Hong Kong and Dubai, said Kenning, who sat on the evaluation committee for the sale of B.C. Rail and headed the audit committee.

“So B.C. Rail, in 2008, a company with [few employees], you’re saying it’s necessary for them to go on airline travel to the Far East, have I got that right?” asked defence lawyer Kevin McCullough.

“No, you haven’t got that right,” said Kenning. “What I’m saying is that we had a new mandate from the government that required us to carry out our job,” said Kenning. “We made the decision that trips to other, key, world-class ports would be helpful to us in carrying out what was a new duty tasked to us by the minister of transportation and the premier’s office.”

McCullough pressed Kenning on why B.C. Rail, which only had a small rail line at Roberts Bank and no trains by this point, would agree to such an expenditure.

“As a board member, did you not think that was absurd?” he said.

“No, it wasn’t absurd,” said Kenning. “I think it makes perfect sense, given what the government asked us to do.”

From Neil Hall:

After BC Rail was sold, Kenning recalled, the plan was to wind down the company after it sold up to $300 million of its real estate holdings, which was expected to take two years.

But he said the transportation minister at the time, Kevin Falcon, gave BC Rail an additional mandate, asking it to develop “gateway access” to ports, so executives flew to Dubai and Hong Kong for discussions with officials.

McCullough asked Kenning if he thought it was absurd that BC Rail, which was by then a small company with no trains, would send executives abroad.

Kenning said the government told the company to look at other ports with high container traffic, and that’s why executives were sent overseas

To be certain, Gateway has always been former transportation minister Kevin Falcon’s baby, as was the SFPR. It is well-known and documented  that Falcon was the driving force to make a concept that had been around for years, a reality,  and in particular he has always been vehement in his defence of the South Fraser Perimeter Road( SFPR). The rationale used to support the project always revolved around the movement of trucks carrying goods and cargo to and from Deltaport.  But to some who knew, BC rails new mandate to support the Gateway initiative and port development through the Roberts Bank Corridor was seemingly at odds with the reasoning to wind it down as a debt-ridden burden to the province.

      Of course, the  key to BC rails new mandate revolved around the rail line to Deltaport-more commonly known as the Roberts Bank Spur line, which was alleged to have been offered to Omnitrax as a consolation prize in exchange for not dropping out of the already tainted bidding process for BC Rail.  

Lawyers Michael Bolton for David Basi and Kevin McCullough for Bob Virk have repeatedly argued in court that their clients’ political superiors ordered the consolation prize be given to OmniTRAX.

The RCMP told B.C. Liberal Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon that the separate privatization process for the port subdivision had to be cancelled because it had been compromised by leaks of confidential government information.

(The article  is a must read, even more relevent now in the entire railgate affair than ever)

Of course, the line was never sold, and there was a very good reason why not. Had Omnitrax actually obtained ownership of that line, the Asia-Pacific Gateway initiative may not have transpired the way it did.

Likely realising the gem before him, former transportation minister Kevin Falcon thus changed the mandate of BC rail, which effectively halted the wind-down as previously planned. Additional staff were even required to facilitate the new activities and goals of BC Rail to support Deltaport and the gateway initiative.

In January of 2007, whispers of BC rail attempting to purchase land were making waves in North Delta coffee shops. Shortly thereafter, it hit the pages of the Delta Optimist that BC rail was making plans for a new rail yard at Roberts Bank. Although the company only owned an option to purchase a 250 foot strip along the rail line, landowners told the paper BC rail came to them asking to purchase large parcels. BC Rail claimed the landowners came to them.

 In August, 2007, B.C. Rail applied to the Agricultural Land Commission for permission to purchase, subdivide, and build an expanded right-of-way along the Deltaport rail line on 52 acres of active farmland.  The expanded right-of-way required the subdivision of nine properties in the Agricultural Land Reserve. 

 The Application (#0-37610) was NOT for exclusions but the right to subdivide farmland and build within the Agricultural Land Reserve.

Instead of purchasing just the 52 acres as approved, to date B.C. Rail has spent over 15 million taxpayer dollars to purchase over 150 acres of prime Delta farmland in the Agricultural Land Reserve.  Instead of buying portions of properties, B.C. Rail has purchased large parcels between Deltaport and a service road to the south.  

These properties were originally crown properties of the Roberts Bank Backup Lands that were expropriated by the province in 1968 and 1969 for port development. Subsequently they were sold back to the farmers between 8 and 10 years ago for very reasonable prices.

 The rationale given for the expanded right-of-way has always been the planned future Terminal 2 at Roberts Bank. The plans east of Highway 17 are to accommodate the South Fraser Perimeter Road. 

What makes all of this so interesting is that these acres and acres of farmland properties BC Rail has purchased, border  a good portion of the land that was removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve under the Tsawwassen First Nation treaty. The Tsawwassen First Nation received approximately 207 hectares (511 acres) from the ALR as part of the deal.

Some of the that land is going to be industrial development,right beside the BC rail lands. following link shows the TFN is open for business: http://www.tsawwassenfirstnation.com/TEDC_Open_for_Business_Brochure.pdf 

TEDC also issued a Request for Expressions of Interest to find a qualified partner for development of the first 100 acres of TFN Industrial Lands.On the commercial side, TEDC entered into a Letter of Intent to develop a 100 acre commercial site (on the north side of Highway 17) with Property Development Group (PDG). PDG is an experienced shopping centre developer that has developed projects on other First Nation lands.TFN was also featured in a provincial government initiative to connect foreign investment with business opportunities in BC. “

 Something tells me, that we need to go back to that interview with Campbell from 2006, where he stated his government was concentrating on building urban commercial centers south of the Fraser River…

When you consider that the SFPR began as a dedicated highway complete with interchanges to move container trucks to and from the port and it has ended up being nothing more than just another road, and a highly questionable one at that, you have to wonder why Falcon pushed so hard for this project during his time as transportation minister. Certainly,there have proven to be more than a few flaws with the project that Falcon and the Liberals never counted on, and  have had to compensate  for.

The global economic meltdown, for one – the fallout of which is still greatly evident in reduced container traffic through our ports, thus negating the crux of the rationale behind the SFPR. The reason why the project has been downgraded several times (possibly at great risk to drivers, with a major interchange reduced to a light controlled intersection at one crucial juncture ) we have been told is because  current and projected traffic volumes did not merit the build.

Some analysts have been saying all along that Deltaport container traffic is unlikely to ever reach the levels it once was considering the Panama Canal expansion opens only one year after the SFPR –  greatly reducing the likelihood Asia will continue to offload goods here on the west coast. With the expanded canal able to accommodate super-cargo carriers, shippers can make the more cost-effective choice of delivering goods directly to the eastern coast of the USA and Canada via the canal, rather than stopping here and then trucking or sending cargo via rail across the country.

And then let us not forget the very profitable bounty of curious land deals that have been occurring since 2005 along the current route of the SFPR – some long before specific details were known to the general public and even prior to the completion of the environmental assessments.( to be detailed in a future installment)

Add it all up and it appears there are grand plans underway to develop and industrialize hundreds of acres of lands south of Deltaport way, and the BC Rail  spur line and subsequent land aquisitions are central to it.

A note of interest at this point, is that Colliers international did a report on the real estate benefits of the SFPR, even before the project included this southern portion. From that report:

 “Colliers carried out a two phase study with reports provided in November 1999 and January 2000.  Phase I forecast the type, magnitude and rate of land development without and with SFPR.  Key findings and conclusions were:

 SFPR catchment area of South Westminster, Bridgeview, Port Mann and Fraser Heights has approximately 900 acres of vacant industrial land of which 50% is serviced.

 Without the SFPR, it is forecast that approximately 200 acres would be developed for industrial purposes by 2021.  With SFPR all 900 acres would be developed by 2021.  The incremental 700 acres of industrial development can be attributed to enhanced accessibility due to SFPR. 

Colliers conclude that this increase in demand would be reallocation from within Greater Vancouver.”

Both Gateway and the SFPR have been instrumental in allowing both government and developers  relatively unfettered access to one of the last great undeveloped tracts of land yet untouched because it sits in the agricultural land reserve -all through a series of land deals,swaps and treaties no one anticipated before it was too late.

Some say Gateway and the South Fraser Perimeter Road are two of former transportation minister Kevin Falcon’s biggest follies. Considering the number of land titles I hold in my hand from deals related to these projects, I would say they have potential to rival the land deals along the Sea to Sky highway.

Either way, I’d say perhaps Omnitrax really did  lose out on the most expensive consolation prize in history… and former transportation minister-now- liberal-leadership-hopeful Kevin Falcon has more questions to answer, since he was behind the mandate that turned BC rail into a tool for land development in Gateway.

*** BC Rail went onto a long term agreement with Kinder Morgan as a result of issuing this request back in 2006. http://www.bcrco.com/operating.pdf 

***On April 1st, 2010, BCRC was brought back into government under the BC Transportation Financing Authority,and it’s reporting will be combined with the BCTFA, as reported in the 2009 report, which is good reading.  http://www.bcrco.com/2009report.pdf

Excerpts of interest from that report:

During 2009, the Company met all its specific mandated objectives and continued to work toward its mandate of acquiring and holding railway corridors and strategic port lands and making related infrastructure investments to support the Pacific Gateway initiative.

 BCRC’s primary mandate is to support and facilitate the British Columbia Ports Strategy (“BC Ports Strategy”) and Pacific Gateway Strategy, by providing consulting advice, acquiring and holding railway corridor and strategic port lands, and making related infrastructure investments for the Province. – acquisition and retention by BCR Properties Ltd. of key lands which support port terminal operations. BCRC, through its subsidiary BCR Properties Ltd., has also retained ownership of port-related lands,

 
On April 1 2010, 100% ownership was transferred to the BC Transportation Financing Authority (“BCTFA”). From this date onwards, information reported in the BCRC Annual Report will be consolidated into the BCTFA, resulting in this being the last annual report for BCRC.
 
– BCRC is principally a holding company with its commercial and business activities conducted through its operating subsidiaryBCR Properties Ltd. (“BCR Properties”). This wholly owned subsidiary operates the Port Subdivision, the 24-mile railway line connecting three major railways (CN Rail, Canadian Pacific Railway, and BNSF Railway) with the port terminals at Roberts Bank. Although it does not operate its own trains on this railway line, BCR Properties maintains the track and manages all train operations, recovering its costs from the three user railways based on their respective share of traffic over the line. BCR Properties also manages the Company’s non-railway real estate portfolio. This includes retention and management of the strategic port-related lands including lands associated with Vancouver Wharves and Squamish Terminals operations.

 Benefit to the Public   The main benefit to the public of BCRC’s operations comes from its role in helping to implement the Shareholder’s BC Ports Strategy and Pacific Gateway Strategy. These strategies will add billions of dollars of economic output and more than 30,000 jobs in British Columbia by 2020 by expanding and increasing the efficiency of the province’s transportation infrastructure. While increasing the province’s capacity to serve export markets, it will also directly benefit British Columbians by improving movement of people and goods, facilitating economic growth, increasing transportation choices and enhancing connections to designated population growth areas. *****

 

 

24 thoughts on “Falcon’s follies: Gateway,SFPR and the Railgate connection.

  1. This is a wonderful article Laila. I enjoyed every word. Hope some of Falcon’s supporters read it and come to their senses because he is obviously operating on his own agenda rather than the best interests of people in BC.

    Back to the South Fraser Freeway, the sad thing Laila, as I mentioned in my presentation to the Cohen Commission is that the environmental assessment for the South Fraser Freeway did not take into account that 900 acres of development. With that kind of development the South Fraser Watershed could be pretty much destroyed opening us up to flooding, plus making the Fraser much less amenable to spawning salmon. If that happens all the efforts of people upstream to improve habitat and safeguard salmon spawning areas and paths will be for naught.
    Also with climate change, the Northwest passage is becoming another option for shipping that makes Deltaport + the South Fraser Freewahy a pair of a white elephants before they are even fully operational and speaking of operational what about the Port at Prince Rupert which is not at capacity, yet. So what do we need with expanded port facilities in Delta and the South Fraser Freeway?
    Oh and on the subject of Falcon’s follies… you can sell a fast ferry if it turns out to be not quite what you needed or expected, but once that South Fraser Freeway is paved over we will be paying for it for a long time in more ways than one.

    Like

  2. aj

    If an NGO wished to challenge the validity of the federal Environmental Assessment, it might be worth looking at the documentation detailing the scope of the EA and whether or not it was determined with knowledge of all the side deals.

    Like

  3. Gary

    You’re doing an excellent job of exposing these crooks Laila. The only problem is that the details coming out are making us all sick, very sick.Does anyone else see a parallel to Egyt in all of this ? Keep up the good work.

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  4. The Campbell Gang was so eager, so willing to dump BC Rail. The Roberts Bank line was saved only because it might (haha) have been equally as corrupted as the main BCR deal was.

    So, as I read it, Falcon’s Follies consist of setting up another big gift for Friends at BC’s expense, Everywhichway.

    Who can doubt that we need a PUBLIC INQUIRY into ALL aspects of the BC Rail sale, and soon.

    Great work, Laila.

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  5. Lynn

    Great article, Laila!
    Is it possible they already knew of the Panama expansion. The SFPR and the sale of the BCR was just a way to get the grubby hands on the acres of ALR and turn it into money?
    Really, the predator bird was in Dubai, how could the canal expansion not be told?
    All the players got their gold. The SFPR contractors, the sales of BC Rail, and the developers get their hands on farm land.

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    1. Laila

      Lynn, the Panama canal is a huge gamechanger – read this just released article how ports on the eastern seaboard are racing to get ready for the much larger super cargo ships that will definately be coming:http://news.bostonherald.com/business/general/view.bg?&articleid=1314967&format=&page=1&listingType=biz#articleFull

      The Panama Canal expansion was approved to move ahead in 2006 by the people of Panama, and it began construction in 2007. It is hardly news to those in the shipping industry, or in government related port activities. It is of huge significance to the shipping and ports industry- all of whom are facing much uncertainty along the west coast of North America, that one wonders why a second terminal would even be considered at Deltaport, especially in light of the closer proximity of Prince Ruperts port to China and the additional plus of having CN’s dedicated rail line to Chicago to move freight to the US from their.

      There are a number of reports that indicate rather than being a complentary port to Delta and Vancouver, Ruperts port will increasingly become a source of competition for both.

      Hi Mary, lovely to hear from you as always. Yes, Falcon’s strong push on Gateway and SFPR definately opened the area to rampant development.

      And yes, we do need that BC rail inquiry. There are far more questions as to what was really on the agenda for BC rail with that sudden change in mandate right around the same time Campbell and Falcon announced Gateway details.

      AJ, there are serious, grievous flaws in the Environmental assesment with regards to disclosure. I am waiting to speak with certain parties to get into more detail on that, but have confirmed certain disclosures were not made.

      Skookum – the government stated at one point the SFPR would not be a tolled road, but since the concession agreement has never been released, no one knows if shadow tolls are part of the payments. But remember, according to the MOT, there is no such thing as shadow tolls..lol.

      Hi Bernadette, glad you enjoyed. There is more to come shortly I hope. Sometimes it takes a bit longer since this is really a side thing, and I only have X amount of free time to work on it.

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  6. Great article. I finally got the time to listen to the podcast yesterday morning. It’s pretty telling material, as you well know. I noticed that BC Mary put out a call, perhaps light heartedly, for you to be sent to the legislature, but I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Earlier this year, Alexandra Morton was contemplating a political career, and decided against it, thankfully. It really seems as though the whole system is so gamed that a good person can have more influence from outside than from within. However, more than anything, we will have to change our collective attitude: as we “celebrate” the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ronald Reagan, it is fitting to remember that he is the symbol of a society in thrall to money, political corruption and armed conflict, effectively keeping us from addressing the pressing questions of ecological overshoot and social dislocation. Keep at it, but from the outside, please.

    Like

  7. Julie

    Your usual wonderful article, of many Laila.

    I think I agree with Gary. I think we should invite this corrupt, BC Liberal government, to leave our province, Egyptian style. Is there now only Abbott left, that isn’t involved in, Campbell’s corrupt sale of the BCR? Falcon deserves a good kick in the butt, for destroying BC’s very valuable farmland. The site C dam, is also destroying our farmland. Going to the dirty Alberta tar sands to boot. There is a global shortage of food, going to get much worse. BC doesn’t have an abundance of farmland, to begin with. In all of my many years, I have never seen, a more corrupt and evil Government. I am sickened by them. We all heard Campbell tell his usual lie, Basi and Virk were the criminals. Seems Campbell is far from being the only criminal, in the BC Liberal government, involved in the corrupt sale of the BCR. They keep getting dirtier and dirtier.

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  8. Very good article and a you know, the fate of the superport Railway also impacts Rail for the Valley’s TramTrain project.

    As an aside, start looking at the RAV/Canada Line as all is not what it seems both financially and operationally, especially the claim that it is successful. Factor out previous bus riders, multiple use of $1 a day U-Pass’s and free rides on Sea Island for the thousands of YVR employees who only travel a station or two, but are counted as a boarding, the $2.5 billion Canada line has attracted less than 2,000 new customers. In fact there is no evidence at all that it has attracted the motorist from the car!

    And guess what, Kevin Falcon is up to his eyeballs with the Canada Line folly.

    Like

    1. Laila

      Right on the money Zwie, but hey, listening to Falcon, you would think he built the damn thing himself! I certainly would love someone to take a look at that project, which is quite a story in itself- if one tells it the way it really happened, not the happy PR version that exists in liberal archives.

      Falcon is up to his eyeballs in most of these projects. Good thing he is friends with that clearly contacts fellow… Very interesting list of endorsements on the 20/20 site for Falcon.

      Like

  9. Erik

    Hochstein is described as “Anti Union Lobbyist” in the Vancouver Sun. Is Phil to now take on the I.L.W.U. ? Longshoremen? Surely that figures in the appointment.
    Good luck with that Phil.

    Like

  10. Curt

    I apologize, I came across this from the Terrace newspaper, but I had to put it here. Is self explanatory in my opinion, to those who live in the “hurtlands” (not heartlands as Gordo likes to call it) north and east of the lower mainland.
    Thank you to George who spelled it out like it’s been for a long time for the citizens in this province. There is more to this province than the lower mainland.

    Terrace Man Writes Open Letter To Falcon
    George Chinn writes in the Terrace Daily Online

    Dear Mr Falcon, MLA;

    I’ve recently been away to Mining convention in Vancouver (Round Up) and upon my arrival back to Terrace I noticed in our local newspaper an article claiming ‘Falcon Proposes Northern Prosperity’. You have come here looking for support from our local population for your leadership campaign, hoping to take over from Gordon Campbell as the leader of our province, at least until the next election. The people of northern B.C. have already been waiting for ten years for action from you.

    Everything we hoped for the people in the north have fought for without help from your Government. Premier Campbell would sneak into Terrace; only talk to selected people, then out the back door. As far as the HST is concerned, your statement claiming people have had time to get over their anger and it is not a big issue any more is wrong. Before the HST came into effect our children were tax exempt on clothing, workers were exempt on safety supplies and clothing; now everything is taxed. The carbon tax is another issue. Clean up the world yet we’re selling all this coal to off shore markets. All these ideas are plain out right dumb and appear to be another money grab.

    Kevin, you were the previous Minister of Highways and I am hoping the people in the province remember you. We lost a lot of friends and suffered a lot of problems due to the negligence of our highway contactors, especially in the Terrace area. We, the ‘Sand for Souls Committee’ fought hard for improvements. We gathered over 3000 signatures three years ago and the following year we gathered over 7000 signatures with numerous written complaints. Again nothing was done.

    We spent many days, time, and gas trying to work with you; asking for your support. I myself asked the government to shuffle the deck. The Excel drivers, a crew of 50 working 24/ 7 travelling our highways, had many complaints and no one listened. This was along with all kinds of problems expressed from other trucking companies and highway travellers. Since you left we have seen, even this year, improvements; thanks to Shirley Bond.

    I believe the government will never admit the ‘Sand for Souls’ made a difference yet I must remind you about the highway tanker fuel spill on the highway to Kitimat, 37 South, which cost tax payers over a million dollars. This accident and clean up was clearly due to the poor highway maintenance, which we continually brought to your attention.

    On behalf of the many deceased members of our Northwest communities, who died on our highways and on behalf of the Sand for Souls Committee; it’s pay back time. And we still have some issues to deal with yet.

    Our conclusion is clear and we want everyone to know, we don’t think you would make a good interim leader or Premier of B.C.

    Sincerely,

    George Chinn

    A very informative letter that pretty much sums up a lot of situations in this province. Situations of neglect by the Liberal Government in BC

    Like

  11. trainjane

    Regarding the new rail yard to be operated under the BC Rail name: as BC Rail is a provincial railway, it is not subject to section 95.1 – 95.3 of The Canada Transportation Act’s provisions for “reasonable” railway noise and vibration.

    This means that any affected citizen who finds themselves adversely affected by noise and vibration emanating from this new 17 track marshalling yard will have little recourse if, for example, late night rail activities disrupt their sleep inside their own homes.

    I am a contributor to another WordPress blog, Rail and Reason, which discusses railway noise pollution issues, as well as concerns about vibration and the environmental impact of rail operations.

    We noted one specific example last year of a southern Ontario community that was seeking relief from noise and vibration under the Act from CP Rail’s operations; The Canadian Transportation Agency was in the midst of reviewing the citizen’s complaint when operations in the affected local were subsequently leased out by CP Rail (a federal railway subject to noise and vibration provisions in the Act) to a small provincial railway, outside the jurisdiction of the Act.

    This had the net effect of shutting down the investigative process by the CTA, (who do not currently have jurisdiction over provincial railways, only federal ones), leaving the citizen’s complaint in limbo.

    The President of the provincial railway (a former CP Rail employee) at the heart of the matter has stated repeatedly that it’s his opinion that if the affected people object to their living conditions, that they should move. That’s his advice for the citizens who found their process shortcircuited by this transfer, of which the timing of the lease is described as being somewhat of a coincidence.

    Had the CTA proceeded with a ruling, either positive or negative, its findings would have been made a matter of public record, regardless.

    Our post was entitled “Leasing a Loophole” in case anyone wants to read firsthand the President’s comments.

    One need look no further to nearby New Westminster to see the battle royal that is going on between the residents in along the Quay area with the four railways that operate near their homes, with much of the noise and vibration at the source of the disruption taking place in the middle of the night. The local newspaper there, The Record, has carried extensive coverage about this fight.

    The MP for this area, Peter Julian, has tabled a Private Member’s Bill to further address concerns about the impact of rail operations upon residents in his constituency…and many others.

    However, without Victoria implementing its own measures to address noise and vibration issues on a provincial basis, anyone who finds themselves affected by this BC Rail project is potentially in for a rude surprise if they initiate a complaint.

    In a nutshell, the fact that this yard will be run by a provincial railway rather than a federal one, notably CN, does not, in my opinion, bode well for residents.

    Like

  12. Ron G

    Another very well researched article Laila! I had not previously read your very important June 29/09 synopsis of “The Keys to BC Rail sale lies in Premier Gordon Campbells beginnings in real estate and land development”.

    There is no question that Falcon, Campbell and Clark are all “Railroaders”, but it should not surprise anyone that most city councils are of the pro-development ilk. Campbell got his teething of railway deals when he was the Mayor of Vancouver. During his tenure he successfully forced the rail barge service from Coal Harbour to River Road in Delta. This action allowed most of rail lands, west of Centerm, to be developed as high-end residential condos. Marathon Realty/CPR, Campbell’s former employer, made mega bucks with this opportunity. The John A MacDonald land grants of the 21st century will continue to accrue huge benefits to Campbell’s other cronies. As my mother said, “Ye can nae trust a Campbell”.

    I also think the “Budget Transparency and Accountability Act” is smoke and mirrors, designed to confuse the masses.

    Like

  13. Rob

    Just did a re-read of this for the first time since you wrote it and loved it all over again. Phenomenal work, phenomenal. You don’t give this guy an inch and that is great!

    Like

  14. Pingback: Politics of Food « Sister Sage's Musings

  15. Pingback: BC Liberals pat themselves on the back over SFPR ‘highway’ opening a year late and $464 million over budget | No Strings Attached : Laila Yuile on politics and life in B.C.

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