Issue: December 2018
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Next deadline: December 14

RAILS TO TRAILS UPDATE

As you are aware we are trying to get CN to negotiate with the Province and/or local municipalities to enable local ownership of the Windsor Junction to Town of Windsor railway line with the intention of establishing a trail. CN has been in negotiations with the Windsor & Hantsport Railway Company for over five years with no conclusion to date.

It is our belief that CN should not be permitted to negotiate with, or sell the railway line to, W&HRC and to prove this we have been corresponding with two different government agencies; the Canadian Transportation Agency and the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board.

We have lobbied the Canadian Transportation Agency, pointing out to them that CN negotiating for over five years with W&HRC is against CTA regulations that stipulate that negotiations must be completed within six months. We also pointed out to them that CTA regulations state that CN may only sell to a private company for the purpose of continued railway operations. We have provided a number of reasons why we believe that there will be no continued railway operation and that CN is compelled to negotiate with the various levels of government as stipulated in the CTA regulations. The CTA recently decided that negotiations between CN and W&HRC should continue but it appears to us that they did not consider all our points and we have again written to them pointing this out.

Months ago we were told by CN that they were negotiating with W&HRC because W&HRC held a license, granted by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board, to operate a railway in Nova Scotia. CN further stated that if W&HRC did not have a license to operate a railway they (CN) would be prepared to seek other interested parties. Upon review of the Nova Scotia Railway Act, we felt that W&HRC was not complying with the terms and conditions of their license. Accordingly, a complaint was lodged with the NSUARB listing sections of the Act that W&HRC were violating and that the license held by W&HRC should be revoked. W&HRC was given a deadline of Nov. 15, 2018, to submit a rebuttal to the complaint. W&HRC failed to respond to the NSUARB by the deadline.

As a result of W&HRC’s failure to respond to the complaint, the NSUARB is “formally initiating a public hearing process to determine issues of fact and law in relation to this complaint”. The date of this public hearing has yet to be decided. Other parties will be permitted to file requests to become formal intervenors in the proceeding and there will be an opportunity for public comment.