The Town of Cochrane is lobbying CP Rail for two at grade railway crossings.
A meeting on September 12, between town personnel and CP Rail may become heated.
Councillor Ross Watson says in his mind there are two crucial crossings that need permission in the Town of Cochrane; one connecting the downtown to the Quarry and one at Horse Creek Road.
"I think both of them are crucial to the Town of Cochrane; when people come to Cochrane they go to the Quarry for all of the major services but they still want to enjoy Cochrane, with a crossing there they can walk into our historic downtown and newly developed heritage area where the old town hall site is. To make our downtown core a real walk-able experience that crossing is extremely important. The Horse Creek crossing is critical for public safety."
Watson says with growing populations in both Heritage Hills and Heartland, they need more access to Cochrane's river park system. Watson, an avid cyclist, says on any given day he is rare to be the only one to cross, at a technically, illegal crossing.
"I know the biking community and they're crossing there, and these people are responsible human beings; then while I'm there, I see families from Heartland crossing at Horse Creek and there's barriers there, signs saying that this is 'CP land trespassers will be prosecuted', and yet I still see these families with children and our biking community crossing there. You have to know that they are crossing there because, quite frankly, it is their only reasonable option."
Watson is quite offended at the signage, and says the town is fighting back.
"The town is lobbying to get permission to put at grade, safe crossings in both these spots. I am a little disappointed actually in the reluctance to grant us crossings."
Watson says he believes it is just a matter of time before someone gets hurt/hit short cutting across the tracks.
"I don't think it will happen at those two spots, because people are choosing those spots as their safest alternative. What I am worried about is all the people that won't go that far even to cross the tracks, and will be crossing further up in other places where you wouldn't expect them."
It is not money related, says Watson, sharing the town is willing to be on the financial hook for the crossings. Watson's viewpoint is CP wants nothing to do with any solution that could, or would, slow down the speed of train traffic.
"We had a presentation by CP a little while ago, the presentation was a tough presentation- it was to let us know that CP doesn't want at grade crossings, they don't want them in Cochrane, they don't want them in other municipalities. I can tell you they basically said, that moving products is their business, roads are our business."
The Town of Cochrane not only wants these crossings but they want the safest crossings they can actually put in; Watson is hopeful that CP comes on board.
If you would like to voice your concern, Watson shares let your opinion be heard to not only Town Council, but MLA Cameron Westhead as well.
If the meeting on the 12th does not provide a reasonable directive, Watson says council will need to evaluate whether they take the decision to the Federal Department of Transportation.