Municipalities and rail working together to resolve disputes

by Canadian Shipper

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities and Canadian Pacific Railway are resolving to work together to solve disputes between municipalities, recreational, residential and commercial interests relating to railway issues.

Noise and commotion, railway/road crossings, or the aesthetic appearance of railway facilities are of concern to municipalities, and the FCM and CPR say they will introduce the model to other industry players with the hope of further development as standardized industry practice.

The jointly-developed FCM/CPR process is based on joint community/company resolution processes, including the formation of local working and/or advisory committees. To standardize the management of emerging issues, CPR has established a Community Connect Line telephone system. By calling 1-800-766-7912, Canadian residents can advise CPR of their concerns or ideas for improvement. In cases where the company is planning a significant operational change or construction of new facilities, CPR will work with municipal officials to determine appropriate community involvement and communication.

In the past, the process for resolution of such issues often proceeded to third-party mediation, regulatory agencies or the courts. In some cases issues remained intractable for extended periods.

“This is a significant step. While CPR contributes significantly to hundreds of Canadian municipalities through taxes and jobs, the 24/7 nature of railway operations occasionally strain community relationships. This new approach demonstrates the evolving spirit of cooperation between industry and communities. The FCM will take action to develop this model as an industry-wide standard,” said Jack Layton, FCM President-elect.

Using a series of pilot sites to test the new local dispute resolution process, FCM and CPR will spend the next several months developing an implementation plan.

“Canadian Pacific Railway intends to continue its tradition of positively contributing to Canadian communities in which it maintains operations. By strengthening our relationship as good neighbors, it seems clear that we will build a more prosperous common future,” said Rob Ritchie, CPR President and CEO.

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