IN THE NEWS ~ MP takes aim at nighttime rail noise

MP takes aim at nighttime rail noise
By Theresa Mcmanus, The Record

MP Peter Julian wants the federal government to help Quayside residents get a good night's sleep.

On Wednesday, the Burnaby-New Westminster MP tabled a Private Member's Bill in the House of Commons that would prohibit railway companies from engaging in noisy rail yard activities in residential areas between the hours of 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.

"It definitely came out of my consultation with the community. We have had a couple of townhall meetings," he said. "There have been very, very clear indications from folks in the Quayside area that action is needed."

After passing the House of Commons in 2007, the Senate changed the provisions of Bill C-11, which were amended by the standing committee on transportation to decisively deal with railway noise.

"The Senate gutted the bill's regulations to allow 'reasonable' amounts of noise, a phrase open to heavy interpretation, which protected railway companies and ensured that they would continue to pay only lip service to the complaints of residents," said Julian "The time for a conciliatory approach is over, the railway companies have been unresponsive, and now we've been forced to push for tough legislation to address this issue."

Julian noted that high-noise activities in the rail yard include the idling, sorting, coupling, decoupling and shunting of trains, which creates an incredible amount of noise and disruption.

"They could be doing more of the shunting away from residential areas," he said. "They have a number of alternatives."

Julian's bill is a response to the growing concerns of local constituents who live near the Westminster Quay rail yard, where a large and dense residential neighbourhood has been built in the surrounding area over the last two decades.

The Quayside Community Board has raised concerns about the noise.

"We are 100 per cent in support of Peter in that endeavour," said association member James Crosty. "It was a loophole that was left in the last bill. It is heartening to know somebody has taken up this cause. There are people taking medication to sleep at night."

Crosty said the train noise is "deafening" to some people living at the Quay.

"There are health issues around this that are more challenging than people realize," he said. "There are solutions. That is what we are trying to get at."

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