September 25, 2023

The Queens County Citizen

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Lac-Mégantic | In Bypass Agreement between Ottawa and the Canadian Pacific

Lac-Mégantic |  In Bypass Agreement between Ottawa and the Canadian Pacific

Uncertainty over Lock-Megantic train bypass construction schedule is over. The Trudeau government and the Canadian Pacific Railway Company have announced that they have reached an agreement in the autumn of 2023 to meet the deadline to complete the work established by Ottawa.

Joel-Denis BellavensJoel-Denis Bellavens

Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra has succeeded in overcoming the obstacles recently mentioned by CPR President Keith Creel. Confirmation of the deal is due Thursday evening, according to federal sources.

The details of the deal, however, were not disclosed.

“This is an important step in obtaining the plans and specifications and the regulatory powers required for the realization of the project,” he said on Thursday evening.

The agreement provides for the completion of several studies in the coming weeks on soil, water, fish habitat and ambient noise levels. The Minister des wants to provide information to des transport owners and also tries to minimize the results of the work throughout this study campaign.

The final right-of-way plan has been completed and negotiations can begin with the relevant owners with a view to acquiring the land.

Things are expected to begin this fall.

In a recent letter to Minister Alghabra, Canadian Pacific CEO Keith Creel said that the deadline set by the Trudeau government to begin construction of the lock-megantic bypass in the spring of 2022 was “impossible” to begin by the end of 2023.

He said this “political goal” would be somewhat possible if the Trudeau government quickly seized land for construction and eliminated the application of the general lengthy regulatory approval process.

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Ottawa must accept all financial risks associated with the simultaneous development of the engineering and construction phases. In a nutshell, the letter dated April 12 reads, “Major obstacles in the schedule are factors that only the government can solve”.

All of these conditions must be met as soon as possible so that construction can begin early this fall if the bypass is to be put into service by the end of 2023.

“If construction is to begin in the spring of 2022, the government’s target of 2023 will not be reached. By the end of 2023, the only (mostly) real solution to a decision will be construction to begin this fall,” Mr Creel wrote in a letter to Mr Algabra.

Tap Received a letter from the CEO of Canadian Pacific.

In July 2013, 47 people were killed in Lock-Megantic after an oil-laden train derailed in the city center, causing an explosion that destroyed part of the municipality.