Sgt. Rupert Sutherland of the CP Rail police was in Nelson this week enforcing trespassing laws on the rail tracks. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Sgt. Rupert Sutherland of the CP Rail police was in Nelson this week enforcing trespassing laws on the rail tracks. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

CP Rail ticketing track walkers in Nelson

Crossing the tracks other than at a traffic crossing is trespassing, company says

Walking on the railroad tracks. Don’t we all do it occasionally?

Crossing the tracks on foot, not at a traffic crossing. It seems innocent enough.

But if the Canadian Pacific Railway Police Service has its way, we will all be educated and enforced into realizing that in taking these shortcuts we are trespassing on private property.

Sgt. Rupert Sutherland and three other officers were in Nelson this week patrolling the tracks and handing out tickets to anyone setting foot on them.

The tickets are given under the federal Railway Safety Act, and the penalty is a $115 fine, with a court appearance for repeat offenders and for especially dangerous behaviour like riding trains.

It’s about safety and liability, Sutherland told the Star.

“We are trying to reduce fatalities and serious injuries. Unfortunately, we’re still seeing significant numbers across Canada,” he said.

In Canada in 2019 there were 56 incidents on CP rail tracks (not at legitimate crossings) resulting in 38 deaths and 17 serious injuries, according to Sutherland.

Fatalities have increased since wearing earbuds became popular, he added.

Although he said Nelson is considered a high priority for enforcement, he had no statistics on the number of incidents, injuries or deaths on Nelson area tracks, and CP’s head office could not provide the Star with any.

CP police officers have the same powers as any other police officer in Canada. They can detain, arrest, use force, search, and compel people to court. Their jurisdiction is anywhere within 500 metres of the tracks or CP property.

Sutherland says that even though members of the CP police are hired and paid by the company they are agents of the Crown.

“There are misconceptions in the public, that we are private security or we are ‘corporate goons’ and all that type of terminology. But we are completely separate from the company.”

He said CP does not have access to the details of their investigations or other police work.

Sutherland said the homeless camps just west of Nelson beside the tracks are also a safety concern.

“It may sound like stereotyping, and I don’t mean to do that, but a large proportion of the transient people that we find in these camps have either alcohol or drug addiction issues, so that has an increased risk.”

Nelson’s Sustainable Neighbourhood Action Plan for the Railtown area, completed in 2016, states that a railway crossing or a pedestrian overpass near the former CP station would effectively connect Cottonwood Park and the Railtown district to Kootenay Lake and the waterfront pathway.

“A pedestrian overpass would help to resolve safety issues of people crossing the tracks at unplanned areas, and would help to create a better Nelson-wide connected network for active transportation and recreation,” the plan states.

City planner Pam Mierau told the Star that a local CP employee was on the stakeholder group during the creation of the plan but, when she attempted to communicate with higher levels at CP to start a discussion about a Railtown crossing, the company didn’t seem interested.

“We tried, but we never got very far,” she said, adding the clarification that never in the process did CP commit to building a crossing or an overpass.

In Railtown, CP owns not only the railway tracks but a significant piece of the undeveloped land between the tracks and Lakeside Drive.

Related:

Promised park at Nelson recycle depot site still a long way off

Nelson council approves Railtown development plan



bill.metcalfe@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

The latest EKASS survey confirms a steady decline in substance use among EK youth over the years. (image compilation via Pixabay)
Latest survey shows steady decline in adolescent substance use over the years

Starting in 2002, the survey has been conducted every two years to monitor changes in substance use patterns, attitudes and behaviors amongst East Kootenay youth.

The Aquatic Centre at Western Financial Place.
Cranbrook Aquatic Center to close temporarily

The annual shutdown of the Aquatic Center at Western Financial Place will begin earlier than scheduled this year and does not have a defined end date at this time.

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

1914
It happened this week in 1914

June 6 -12: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers held at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday, June 10, mentioned Grand Forks among two other COVID “hot spots” in B.C. Photo: Screenshot - YouTube COVID-19 BC Update, June 10, 2021
PHO Henry says West Kootenay city is a COVID ‘hot spot’ in B.C.

There are 11 cases of COVID-19 in the Grand Forks local health area, according the BC CDC

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read