An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
CP RAIL NEEDS to come clean on its plans for expanded trackage in Kamloops.
The railway announced in a news release on its website a week and a half ago it will shut down the Jack Gregson Trail effective Nov. 9.
The reason, it said, is that an additional track is needed along the existing mainline. While the statement took pains to make clear the trail was “neither designed nor intended to be a public pathway,” it was vague about details on the track expansion.
It said just enough to raise fears that it might be intending to add another track through downtown Kamloops. Such a prospect is absurd.
The news release talked about trying to “minimize any inconvenience to the residents in the surrounding communities” during construction. Media have attempted to clarify the extent of the project, as have I.
Inquiries to CP Rail have been brushed off with a referral back to the press release, with no further explanation, or no reply at all.
That’s simply not good enough. If you visualize the existing rail lines west from the Gregson Trail, it’s clear that adding a new line all the way along Lorne Street past Pioneer Park to the existing downtown yard and terminal and on from there through town would be a monumentally disruptive — and near impossible — challenge.
And, I might add, totally unacceptable.
Heading east, adding a line through Valleyview would be almost as bad. The logical conclusion has to be that CP Rail is planning a siding rather than another line.
Why it refuses to share its intentions is hard to fathom. Railroads have been a major part of Kamloops history and economy since the beginning but that’s no excuse for treating the community with such utter disrespect.
Interestingly, a news release about a track extension in Field, published on the same web page, provides details of that plan complete with a map. Kamloops deserves the same courtesy.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.