WATTS RAIL SAFETY MOTION RESULTS IN FIRST BNSF APPEARANCE BEFORE PARLIAMENTARY STANDING COMMITTEE

April 19, 2016

OTTAWA – At yesterday’s Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, representatives from BNSF and the City of Surrey appeared to answer questions and address the rail safety motion brought forward by South Surrey – White Rock MP and Official Opposition Critic for Infrastructure and Communities, Dianne Watts. Five representatives from BNSF Railway were present, along with Surrey Fire Chief Len Garis and Deputy Fire Chief Dan Branscher, City of Surrey Manager of Transportation Jaime Boan, and lawyer and rail consultant Mary-Jane Bennett.
“This was the first appearance before a Parliamentary Standing Committee for BNSF Railway. It was a very productive discussion and I am pleased to continue our work with them,” said Dianne Watts. “All parties agreed to coordinate discussions and resolve issues relating to the Stop Train Protocol. I was also pleased to hear the positive feedback from first responders on the AskRail app that is currently in use by BNSF and Surrey’s first responders. As the former Mayor, I was heavily in favour of implementing this important safety tool as it gives first responders real-time knowledge of what trains are coming through the community, what goods are in the cars, what dangerous goods are travelling through, and when. This gives residents assurance that our first responders are well prepared.”

“On the issue of relocation, BNSF said they welcome the discussion on the issue and are open to speaking with the community and with the Standing Committee on this issue,” said Watts. “BNSF also pointed out the important measures they have proactively undertaken to keep the railway up to date on safety, including investing over $35 million over the past 3 years on measures such as upgraded slope stabilization. Overall, I think it was an important and productive meeting and I look forward to seeing progress in communication and cooperation between the rail company and the community as a result of the ongoing work. I will continue to update the community on the progress of the Committee’s rail safety study and both the short term and long term goals.”

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For more information:
Alla Drigola
Office of Dianne Watts, MP (South Surrey – White Rock)
613-299-2982
dianne.watts.a1@parl.gc.ca