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In Ward 6 and elsewhere in Richmond Hill, GO trains serve commuters on weekdays and CN transports goods along the rail tracks on a daily basis. The recent train derailment on this CN railway near the Town’s Elgin Mills Road East has heightened attention to the priority issue of rail safety. As a Director of the national Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), I raised concerns about the need for better disclosure and regulation on types of goods, structural integrity of tanks, emergency planning, training, and response, risk assessments, oversight and enforcement of rail safety by Transport Canada.

Working with the FCM National Municipal Rail Safety Working Group, Transport Canada supports real time information sharing during emergencies and efforts to strengthen regulations regarding rail operations. A new Safe and Accountable Rail Act (Bill C-52), introduced recently, proposes amendments to existing legislation to create new regulatory powers for Transport Canada to better address safety concerns raised by FCM.

At the local level, I have pressed for repair of the grade crossings at Weldrick Road East as surface conditions have gone from bad to worse. The good news is that asphalt overlay will be undertaken this summer to provide a smoother transition over the rail tracks. As a long-term solution, it would be a good idea to build grade separations with a bridge overpassing the rail tracks, like the one on 16th Avenue. Please share your views with me at the 7th annual Ward 6 Summerfest at David Hamilton Park on June 21.

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