Abandoned Rail Lines

Res #: 15-01A
Number: 15
Year: 2001
Midterm: No
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: Transport Canada

Resolution No. 15-01A

WHEREAS, a number of abandoned rail lines have been left in an unsafe and unsightly condition;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the original owner be responsible for putting the railway right-of-way back into its original state.

Response from Hon. Pat Atkinson:

The jurisdiction for land use, zoning, tidiness and safety are a local jurisdiction under municipal acts. The province or municipalities cannot enforce laws or bylaws against CN or CP as operating federal railways. Municipal bylaws come into effect when the railway files for abandonment and the regulatory body, either federal or provincial, authorizes the railway to cease operations.

Recent court cases have strongly reinforced the authority of municipal governments to set reclamation bylaws. The provincial government is taking steps to ensure reclamation costs are included in the net salvage value under the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA). The government is supporting an appeal to the federal court in conjunction with the Cudworth local governments to have a previous CTA decision not requiring reclamation costs to be included in the net salvage value.