Federal Court of Appeal to Rule on Key Railway Noise and Vibration Issue
For those individuals and communities across Canada currently being negatively affected by railway noise and vibration, the pending outcome of a precedent-setting case to be heard by the Federal Court of Appeal this September 20th will be of enormous, nation-wide significance.
After being plagued for years by late night rail noise, the folks in and around the Quayside Community of New Westminster, B.C. are fed up. They’re fed up of having their sleep ruined by late night railway noise and vibration from the four rail companies that operate quite literally in their backyard, namely CN Rail, CP Rail, BNSF, and Southern Railway. Further, they’re fed up with the lack of progress to date in resolving their concerns.
Well Organized, Well Publicized
The article, “Quayside residents continue fight against nighttime train noise”, that appeared in the community newspaper, The New West Record, on November 1, 2010 details the efforts that this very well-organized, close-knit community have made in order to improve their living conditions:
“As a result of a complaint filed in 2008, the Canadian Transportation Agency assisted the Quayside Community Board in reaching a mediated settlement with rail companies operating in the rail yard adjacent to the Quayside neighbourhood. The intent of that settlement was to reduce, and ultimately eliminate the unreasonable noise and vibrations being generated by nighttime operations, for the benefit of the community.
In April 2010,the Quayside Community Board filed a new noise and vibration complaint. It has requested that the Canadian Transportation Agency issue an operating guide for the rail companies that restricts operations in this rail yard to between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m., as the railways were not following the mediated settlement.”
View recent television coverage of this issue in the segment “Quiet please in Quayside Residents in NW’s Quayside neighbourhood want trains to be forced to be silent overnight” on Global TV BC on Friday, August 12, 2011.
Read further newspaper coverage, “New Westminster residents hope court case will limit Quayside train noise” in The Vancouver Sun on Friday, August 12, 2011.
Effects Likely to be Felt Nationwide
New Westminster residents are now geared up for a showdown with the railways in what promises to be a pivotal decision that will potentially affect not only the future of their community, but will likely send far reaching effects rippling across the entire country.
Brian Allen, Chair of the Quayside Community Board’s rail noise committee, and tireless advocate, details the efforts made after the mediation process in the The New West Record newspaper article:
“…the Quayside Community Board filed a new complaint as a result of the railways’ refusal to meet the terms of the previously mediated agreement.”
He further states:
“…the Canadian Transportation Authority recently ruled in the Quayside Community Board’s favour, but the railway companies then filed a notice of motion for leave to appeal the case to the federal Court of Appeal.”
But, depending on the outcome of this landmark case, which pits the railways up against the jurisdiction of The Canadian Transportation Agency, railway executives might be taking their turn tossing and turning at night instead.
Railways Fail to Derail Community Efforts
The President of the Quayside Community Board, James Crosty commented in The New West Record newspaper article that:
“ …the residents’ association has had to contend with “overpowering legalize” presented by the railways…We are going through the minefield of legalese in order to get a solution to the problem. We don’t care about process, we just care about results. The lawyers are fighting the process.”
The same article further states:
“While the Quayside Community Board gets the feeling that railways are “grasping at straws” in their submission, Allen said it will have to wait for a decision from the judge who will consider the issue. He said the current process wouldn’t be necessary if the railways had honoured the spirit and intent of the mediated settlement.”
Two Core Parts to the Issue
Board President James Crosty recently summed up how he views the situation at hand:
“There are two major issues to consider regarding rail noise and vibration as it relates to the struggle between the public and train corporations:
One is the question of the Canadian Transportation Agency’s (a quasi-judicial administrative tribunal of the federal government) jurisdiction and power to impose regulations on federally run (rail) companies.
Two is the question of the public right to peace and quiet in the late evening to early morning hours.”
Crosty notes that municipal noise bylaws do not apply to railway noise and vibration, a point not lost on the railways.
Kicking and Screaming
Brian Allen sums up the New Westminster situation by saying that:
“Everything could be done during the day but these guys just don’t want to take the time to change their schedules and have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century. When the rail yards were built, it was a light industrial area but now it is heavy-use, high-density and people have to live here.”
We applaud the community spirit and enormous time and effort invested by Brian Allen and James Crosty, and the persevering residents of the Quayside Community of New Westminster.
We find their efforts an inspiration, and their determination to find solutions to their community’s problems with railway noise and vibration, a ray of hope for not just the citizens of New Westminster, but potentially for everyone in Canada living with this serious problem.
Brian Allen and James Crosty have our full support!
How You Can Help
Please consider showing your support for them, their community, and ultimately for all affected communities across Canada.
If you believe that finding solutions and reducing the impact of railway activities is a much-needed, and vital necessity for the well-being of Canadians, please support this community’s extraordinary efforts to improve their quality of life, and potentially that of many other communities across the country.
If possible, plan on attending this event, which will be held in downtown Vancouver, B.C. Details appear below.
We’re all in this together!
Quayside Community Board Rail Noise Announcement
On the 20th of September 2011 The Canadian Federal Court of Appeal will be hearing the case (A-25-11) between the rail companies and the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) /Quayside Board (QCB).
The Trial will be held at 701 West Georgia, Vancouver BC at the Law Courts Building in the Federal Court of Appeals room from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM.
The public is welcome to attend and there is seating available for 40 people. We feel it is important to fill the court room as a show of support for the QCB and the CTA. This case will decide whether or not the CTA has the authority to issue rules and guidelines for rail company operations in our community.
If you are planning on attending to show your support please email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.
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