A rail yard in the middle of downtown Kamloops isn’t going anywhere and, amidst complaints from area residents, CP Rail is recommending the city put into place zoning rules to prevent more development nearby.
“It is an active rail yard. It will continue to be an active rail yard,” CP Rail’s director of government affairs Mike Lovecchio said.
Lovecchio addressed Kamloops council by video on Tuesday, addressing concerns raised by council and residents about train-related issues in the city, which range from dangerous goods flowing through populated areas to idling and noise complaints at the downtown yard, which spans several blocks south of Lorne Street, some residents of which have launched a petition to end train idling.
Lovecchio said CP Rail recognizes Kamloops has grown and densified, but noted it has done so around the existing rail yard. He suggested the city put into place zoning rules to prevent future proximity-related issues and cited guidelines by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and Railway Association of Canada dating back to 2013, which guide development of land near railway operations.
“I strongly encourage the city to take a look at them [guidelines],” Lovecchio said.
He said he has been in contact with Lorne Street residents, but expects complaints to continue with another residential development under construction on that street.
In addressing the issue of dangerous goods being transported through the city, Lovecchio said it is a responsibility CP Rail takes “most seriously.” The railway company had apparently planned an emergency response exercise with Kamloops Fire Rescue this summer, but it was cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
KTW has previously written stories about rail concerns raised by residents in the city, which also include vehicular traffic being backed on the Trans Canada Highway at Kelly Douglas Road in Valleyview due to trains crossing.
On that front, Lovecchio deferred the issue to Ministry of Transportation and Highways.
“CP, as you know, is not the highway authority and has no authority over the design of the highway,” he said.
Council recently invited both CP and CN to appear before council. CN has yet to appear.