City of White Rock will spend up to $20

White Rock allocates $20,000 for rail-move advice

City staff don’t have technical knowledge to begin years-long effort, council told

City of White Rock staff will spend up to $20,000 to have a consultant look into the application process for relocating the BNSF rail line off of the waterfront.

Council voted unanimously Monday to support the request, following a report from Greg St. Louis, the city’s director of engineering and municipal operations.

The consultant – identified Wednesday as former Canadian Transportation Agency board member Mary-Jane Bennett – will “help us investigate the application process and lay out a framework for us,” St. Louis told council.

The request follows a council resolution Sept. 8 directing staff “to initiate the process and application” for the relocation of the BNSF tracks off the waterfront.

In bringing that motion forward, Mayor Wayne Baldwin said it was time to get the goal of relocating the railway back on track. The quest went off the rails in the wake of a jogger’s death on East Beach tracks in July 2013, which triggered orders from Transport Canada that the city is still working to comply with.

Relocating the line will be a years-long exercise, Baldwin said.

Monday, in response to a question from Coun. Al Campbell, St. Louis confirmed that city staff do not have the technical knowledge and expertise needed to proceed with the application unaided.

In addition to providing a framework and feasibility of moving the application forward in accordance with the Railway Relocation and Crossing Act, the consultant will assist in a risk assessment, he said.

Once complete, the details will be brought back to council, St. Louis said.

The $20,000 – from the city’s contingency budget  – is to cover expenditures to the end of December.

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