Mounting concern over rail safety prompts Sudbury meeting
Federal NDP organizes rail safety round table: Thomas Mulcair, Olivia Chow to attend
Train safety and aging rail infrastructure are the topics of discussion at a community round table later today in Sudbury.
The meeting is being organized by the federal NDP — and leader Thomas Mulcair will be in town for the discussion.
This afternoon's round table will bring together emergency services staff and rail experts from around the city and the province.
One of the groups attending is Greater Sudbury's Community Emergency Management Unit. Its co-ordinator, Lynn Fortin, said she's looking forward to voicing her concerns.
"My hope is that the discussion will be focused on changes that we feel need to be made," she said.
"How do we identify them and how do we push them through the systems so that they get to the people who actually have to make the final decisions?"
Fortin said she'd like to see more communication between the city and the rail companies.
Despite being invited, neither CN nor CP Rail will send representatives to the meeting.
Sudbury MP Glenn Thibeault said that doesn't mean they won't be hearing about the discussion.
"We're going to gather as much information as we can," he said.
"We'll make sure it's given to the government and given to all the rail lines to ensure they're part of this whole process."
Thibeault said he's received a spike in concerned e-mails and phone calls since the deadly derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Que. People have been calling and e-mailing with photos and stories of old rail infrastructure in northern Ontario.
"The concerns are starting to grow and grow," Thibeault said. "I think that relates to a couple of things, which is the lack of funding for infrastructure and the condition of the railway tracks … this is a national issue."
He says that's one of the reasons a rail safety round table has been organized in Sudbury today.
The NDP’s infrastructure critic, Olivia Chow, will also attend the Wednesday afternoon meeting.