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CP Rail hazmat info available to first responders

New federal legislation will require the CP Rail to inform Port Coquitlam Fire and Emergency Services when hazardous materials or dangerous chemicals are being transported through the city
New federal legislation will require the CP Rail to inform Port Coquitlam Fire and Emergency Services when hazardous materials or dangerous chemicals are being transported through the city's rail yard.
— image credit: TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO

New federal legislation will require the CP Rail to inform Port Coquitlam Fire and Emergency Services when hazardous materials or dangerous chemicals are being transported through the city's rail yard.

Previously, the company would provide a list of materials to first responders upon request, according to CP spokesperson Ed Greenberg. But the recent changes in Ottawa mean any community registered with the Canadian Transport Emergency Centre will receive the information automatically.

"[It] ensures that local communities have the information with not only our railway, but other railways as well," he said.

But while the legislation requires all railway companies to keep first responders informed of hazardous materials brought through their community, the information does not have to be made public. Keeping that information confidential is imperative for security purposes, according to Greenberg.

Earlier this week, Port Coquitlam Coun. Glenn Pollock told The Tri-City News that he would be seeking more information about the types of chemicals and materials moving through the rail yard. Given recent derailments of trains from several different railway companies — including an incident in Burnaby on the weekend — he said he had concerns about safety in the community.

PoCo Fire Chief Nick Delmonico said his department had a good relationship with CPR. Firefighters have been informed of the company's safety protocols and conducted a mock disaster drill last month. Another drill on the CP property is expected to take place this year, he added.

gmckenna@tricitynews.com

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