At the most recent Village Council meeting, Canadian National Railway (CN) outlined plans to rehabilitate the railway crossing at 5th Avenue. /FILE PHOTO

By Abigail Popple, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, RMG

At the most recent Village Council meeting, Canadian National Railway (CN) outlined plans to rehabilitate — that is, do major infrastructure maintenance on — the railway crossing at 5th Avenue. The work is expected to take 12-18 hours, during which time the crossing will be closed to traffic.

Tyler Banick, a Public Affairs Manager at CN, told The Goat that the work will likely be done between May and November. However, the exact date and time depends on when material is procured, weather conditions, and how soon CN finishes work on high-priority crossings. Banick added that CN will give residents as much advance notice as possible before work begins.

During the Council meeting, CN Public Works Officer Victoria Hua said supporting components of the railway have been damaged and need to be renewed. This includes wooden planks, rail, ballasts, ties and fasteners.

Pursuant to its agreement with CN, the Village will be paying for the rehabilitation, Hua said. This includes the cost of materials, labour, and hiring third-party services such as traffic control and materials delivery, she added.

CN advised the Village of this projected cost in an email on January 18th, according to Hua’s presentation. This left very little time for the Director of Finance to account for the $150,000 item in the Village’s financial plans, Councillor Pete Pearson said during last week’s meeting.

“[The cost of rehabilitation] amounts to just over 12 per cent of our municipal budget,” Pearson told The Goat in a follow-up email. “The more lead time the better for a municipality to start planning for what was an unexpected item.”

Banick told Council other communities shared Pearson’s concerns over timeliness. He said CN has been making an effort to notify communities of forthcoming rehabilitation in September and October so they have more time to budget.

Mayor Owen Torgerson asked if the rehabilitation costs would have to be paid in full, or if the Village could work out a payment plan. Hua said CN could create a payment plan for the next few years, adding that she would send more details on potential payment plans to the Village CAO.