For those who walk or jog along the Shoreline Trail in Port Moody, it’s looking a little different these days.
CP Rail has cut down a portion of trees at the entrance to the popular trail at Murray Street, but the work has at least one city councillor lamenting the change to the landscape.
Coun. Rick Glumac said he’s fielding a number of calls and concerns from residents about the recent work in the area, and suggested the entrance to the trail will never be the same.
“Instead of having a buffer and a little bit of forest between the Shoreline Trail and the rail, now we just have this area of stumps which certainly doesn’t look very good,” he said.
And Glumac is imploring the rail company to communicate its plans with residents and the community in the future.
“It would be nice if they [CP Rail] let the public know what the plans were there, so people weren’t surprised about it,” he told the Tri-Cities NOW.
“I think a lot of people were surprised. It is quite shocking the number of trees that have come down.”
Glumac, who sits on a rail safety committee with the Union of B.C. Municipalities, said rail safety has been a focus for Transport Canada, but he’s not sure why the trees at the Murray Street crossing had to come down.
In statement to the Tri-Cities NOW, a CP Rail spokesperson said the company is clearing brush and overgrowth from crossings in the area to meet Transport Canada grade crossing sight line standards.
“Vegetation management is a critical aspect of track maintenance,” said CP spokesman Salem Woodrow.
“Excessive vegetation can restrict visibility at grade crossings, compromise the safety of railroad employees, deteriorate the track structure, hinder track safety and create potential fire hazards. It can also damage rail equipment moving on a rail line. Safety is the priority and we are committed to completing the process in a safe, responsible manner.
He said the work in the area should be completed in a couple of weeks.
It’s not clear how many trees were cut down or how many more will meet the axe.
But the recent tree cutting has Glumac suggesting the return of the city’s rail committee to help with communications between the municipality and CP Rail.
Besides the trees, the councillor said there are other issues with the railway that need to be dealt with, including the use of whistles being sounded in the early morning.
The city has a meeting planned with CP officials for April.
The removal of trees isn’t the first time work along the CP line has caught the attention of the city.
Last month, CP, which is responsible for the tracks the West Coast Express runs on, sent out a press release warning users of possible delays for up to two months while the company carries out track maintenance.
The work forced a number of delays for the WCE and an apology from TransLink to riders regarding the service disruptions.
In an explanation, CP said it must schedule, outside of each dedicated commuter train window in the morning and evening, a halting of train traffic to create “track blocks” that allow for crews to work on small sections of the project under tight timelines.
© 2015 Tri-Cities Now
Vas Sladek, B.Sc., CLT