Issue: April 2021
Uniacke Newsletter Logo
Next deadline: April 23

UNIACKE TRAILS - Update

Uniacke Trails Association has been involved in a Nova Scotia Utility & Review Board (NSUARB) hearing as the result of a complaint we filed in July and September 2018. The basis of the complaint was that we felt the Windsor & Hantsport Railway Company (W&HRC) were not following the terms of their operating license nor the Railways Act and Regulations. The NSUARB reviewed our complaint and advised us that we had a valie complaint and that the NSUARB would convene a hearing.

Numerous documents were submitted, over the two-year period of the hearing, by Uniacke Trails, W&HRC legal counsel and the intervenors Nova Scotia Transportation & Infrastrucre Renewal (TIR) and the Municipalities of East Hants and West Hants.

One of the objections raised by W&HRC was that they felt we did not have "standing" to be able to file a complaint against W&HRC as we did not have any direct involvement in the railway.

On December 23, 2020, the NSUARB ruled in favour of the motion filed by W&HRC and stated that we did not have standing to file the complaint and the complaint was dismissed. In the decision the NSUARB made it clear that the complaint should have been filed by NS Transportation.

One of our accomplishments during the hearing was that we made it known to TIR that the Railways Act was out of date and required revisions. As a result, Bill 236, an amendment to the Railway Act was passed by the Nova Scotia Legislature in March of 2020. The Bill has yet to be proclaimed awaiting the preparation of Regulations to accompany the Act. TIR has stated that these Regulations are "under development" but no time frame for completion was given. It is our feeling that these changes will (or may) accomplish what we were attempting to do with our NSUARB complaint.

However, there is some confusion in the Bill regarding the definition of a "non-operating railway" that we feel needs clarification. This was pointed out to the Nova Scotia Government in our submission to the Law Amendments Committee. The ball appears to be in TIR's court now.

As Bill 236 was passed unanimously by the Nova Scotia Assembly over a year ago, letters and emails have been sent to TIR Minister Lloyd Hines; MP Kody Blois; MP Darrell Samson; MLA Margaret Miller; Premier Rankin; Provincial PC Party Leader Tim Houston and Provincial NDP Party Leader Gary Burrill asking that TIR be asked to prepare the necessary regulations and arrange for an expeditious proclamation of Bill 236.

In the meantime, legal counsel for W&HRC has asked the NSUARB that they be awarded costs for these expenses. W&HRC's first submission is due April 1, 2021. We will have 2 weeks to respond and then W&HRC will have an opportunity for a final submission before the NSUARB makes a decision.

The hearing documents are available to the public on the NSUARB website. To read the material submitted go to https://uarb/novascotia.ca/fmi... and in the search box type m08802.

In conclusion, you are asked to write to Nova Scotia Transportation and your politicians stating your desire for an expeditious preparation of the Regulations to accompany Bill 236 followed by proclamation of the Bill.

At a recent Directors' meeting of the Uniacke Trails it was decidid, due to Covid-19, that we would delay our Annual General Meeting until we feel it is safe to do so and, of course, complying with Nova Scotia Health regulations.

Please consider renewing your membership to Uniacke Trails to help give us the support we need to continue forward.

Thank you in advance.

Visit uniacketrails.ca for further information.

For more information check out our website or our Facebook page or our Facebook Discussion Group if you wish to make comments.