Bruce Campbell: Lac-Megantic

Hillary Johnson
01/25/2019

With the increase of companies proposing the building of terminals and export facilities that handle dangerous goods through the North West,  Terrace residents felt it necessary to learn more about what goods travel along our C-N rails. Bruce Campbell, author of "Lac-Megantic - Rail Disaster",  made a presentation at the Terrace Knox United church last night to provide his insight into this growing business, and the governments involvement with past disasters including the rail catastrophe that occurred in Quebec.

"It was the worst modern industrial disaster on Canadian soil that I can find when you look at it all combined the 47 people who died the town incinerated a lot of them were young. It was one of the hardest chapters to write and it still one of the hardest chapters to talk about."

Grieg Houlden, member of Chicago Creek Environmental Society, spoke about his experience with the 28 car train derailment that occurred in Mission Creek in 2018. Emphasizing how CN’s retrieval of coal didn’t have the local ecology in mind.

“After the rails were running then they began to recover the coal when we talk about recovery we had envisions of careful management separation of top soil. The stream was completely exuviated. When they finished stripping the vegetation and top soil out they found out there was actually a culver below the stock pile underneath their railway track and back into Mission Creek.

Dan Mesec, Communication Coordinator for the speaking tour, spoke about how the increase, in rail traffic congestion, could affect the community.

“So far they are very concerned about what this is going to mean for their communities as we are kind of limited on emergency response plans and what that looks like.”

With companies like Altagas, Vopac and Pacific Traverse Energy proposing or building terminals and export facilities there would be an added 350 rail cars a day, which Dan explains is an expediential increase of traffic and higher risk for train derailments.

The speaking tour has taken the group through Houston, Smithers and Terrace and will continue on to other locations in the region this week, making stops in Kitimat and Prince Rupert.

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