The Village of Alix council was concerned about the response of a major rail company to the municipality’s community standards. The issue was discussed at the Aug. 5 regular meeting of council.
When regular staff reports came up on the agenda, Mayor Rob Fehr stated he was concerned about an item related to CP Rail and wanted to get more information.
Village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White noted in her regular report that efforts to discuss tall grass along CP Rail’s right-of-way have apparently ended.
“After several months of communication with CP Rail staff, I have been informed that CP is not responsible for the maintenance of their property along the tracks,” stated White in her report.
“If the municipality wants to enter the property to mow grass or contract a third party to mow grass on CP Rail land the municipality needs to have an agreement in place with CP Rail as the landowner.
“I am consulting other municipalities on the matter to see how they handle this within their communities.”
Coun. Ed Cole wondered why CP Rail has its own police force then if the right-of-ways aren’t their responsibility.
Coun. Barb Gilliat stated the untrimmed grass poses a certain hazard to the community. “What if it catches on fire?”
Mayor Fehr also wondered if there is a grass fire that moves from the CP Rail right-of-way into the community, who will pay for the damages?
Mayor Fehr was also concerned about the railway’s response. “They’ve got too much clout,” said the mayor. “That’s nonsense.”
Coun. Vicki Soltermann suggested taking the concern to the provincial government to see if Edmonton can work through Ottawa to get some results.
White suggested discussing the issue to an upcoming strategic planning session to perhaps develop a strategy.
Councillors elected to accept White’s report for information.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter