WHEREAS Canadian Pacific Railway is proposing line expansion to existing rail lines that may affect Alberta municipalities;AND WHEREAS Alberta municipalities will be affected by the potential line expansions with possible road closures, discontinuous road networks and rerouted traffic;AND WHEREAS the possible road closures could lead to economic loss to Alberta municipalities;AND WHEREAS proper protocol needs to be established for the discussion of potential railroad line expansions and their effect on Alberta municipalities;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta to establish proper protocol for the railway companies when requesting road closures as a result of their infrastructure expansion, and that there will be adequate compensation for the potential effect of rail line expansion proposals on- current land use issues;- municipal growth management forecasts and potential economical development plans;- existing area structure plans;- existing background traffic which includes commercial, agricultural, institutional, residential and emergency vehicles;- the development of municipal long-range transportation networks with respect to time loss analysis surrounding regional connection routes, school bus routes and agricultural and industry routes; and- land acquisitions and cost implications for alternative construction.
Canadian Pacific Railway is in the process of planning for future capacity improvement projects on main lines throughout Alberta. The improvements are being proposed to offset existing line capacity concerns and the related volume stresses. Transport Canada regulations only allow a public crossing to be blocked for a maximum of five minutes when traffic is waiting to cross. Train lengths are outgrowing municipal grid road spacing, resulting in multiple areas of disruption to local traffic and great potential for economical losses from industry throughout Alberta. Proposed solutions include the closure of existing roadways to facilitate longer siding requirements. Canadian Pacific Railway has initiated presentations to Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation and municipalities on possible solutions to roadway crossings and has expressed a willingness to establish a provincial/municipal/railway task force to explore the potential problems that will be incurred from proposed expansions and potential road closures.
The AAMDC has no resolutions currently in effect with respect to this issue. However, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has established a Railway Proximity Committee with the Railway Association of Canada. The committee is developing national recommended best practices and development guidelines to facilitate municipal/railway growth. The committee has contracted with a consulting firm to develop these guidelines. Phase 1 has been completed and looked at new developments in proximity to existing rail facilities. Phase 2 will look at new or expanded rail facilities in proximity to existing development, while Phase 3 will recommend protocols and development guidelines. Phases 2 and 3 are to be completed by the end of 2005. More information is available at www.proximityissues.ca.
Len Mitzel, MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat worked with Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation and a consulting team to develop a process that will assist municipalities and the railway in addressing concerns and negotiations associated with rail capacity expansion as well as potential road closures and crossing upgrades. The resulting Alberta Rail Crossing Study was distributed as a limited release at an AAMDC Fall Convention 2005 workshop session. The release of the Alberta Rail Crossing Study occurred in 2006. The document was approved by Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation (AIT) and is available on the AIT website. This document will serve as a model for municipal/railway interaction.