S. Fraser Community Rail

Renewal of Inter-urban rail passenger rights uncovered and initiated by Mayor Rick Green  – In the Spring of 2009 after asking senior staff a number of questions related to the current heavy rail traffic (15 – 18 trains per day) and what appears to be a dramatic increase in heavy rail traffic through the Langleys in upcoming years due to Roberts Bank expansion we received a copy of a 2005 legal opinion on the interurban at a Council in-camera meeting. In reviewing what I considered at the time a very weak attempt by Township lawyers at explaining the issue, the one constructive thing mentioned was “depending on what is in the Master Agreement which nobody has been able to locate.

After asking a few questions related to the whereabouts of this Master Agreement, and receiving no constructive answers I made a few phone calls. Low and behold I had a copy within 24 hours. (I am unable to disclose how I found that document)

Reading this document was a revelation including the B.C. Government Press Release of 2:00PM July 27th, 1988 from the Honorable Jack Davis, then Energy Minister regarding the sale of B.C. Hydro’s Rail Freight Division to ITEL Corp. of Chicago. It states –

“In commenting on the price paid by ITEL, the Minister emphasized that the sale relates essentially to rolling stock, trackage, and rail freight running rights. It does not include land under or either side of the rail bed nor does it include air rights above Hydro’s rail corridor. These have been retained in order to accommodate rail passenger, real estate or other developments along former B.C. Electric Railway routings in the lower mainland.”

The uncovered and previously unknown Master Agreement secured passenger rights on the Pratt Livingston Corridor, through the Langleys, that was due to expire Aug. 29th 2009. We uncovered it 4 months before it was lost forever and under the terms of the agreement we lobbied all municipal councils to assist us in lobbying the President of B.C. Hydro and our MLAs South of the Fraser to renew those rights. Those rights were secured for the people of B.C. in June of 2009!

With this secured we set about setting up a South of Fraser Community Rail Task Force which made significant headway. Unfortunately after the last election this Task Force was not extended by our council of the day. One of the projects that we initiated was a 26 minute professional video with sincere thanks to Shaw Cable and significant donated time by a local Helicopter Company. This video was broadcast on Shaw Cable on or about 5 times during 2010. I am pleased to be able to provide it above, it is an initiative that Rail for the Valley will continue to pursue! Enjoy –

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