CN Rail wants to build several above ground fuel storage tanks at what it says is unused space within its Belleville rail yard, and while the city knows it would mean new jobs for ‘The Friendly City’, it wants nothing to do with it.
“A bulk fuel storage facility next to our industrial parks, next to residential and high density residential and next to the trains that go along that track is too dangerous,” Belleville city councillor, Mark Panciuk said.
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Each tank could hold nearly 200,000 litres of fuel, but with the amount of traffic — whether by rail or transport trucks travelling to and from a nearby industrial park — city officials, including Belleville’s fire chief say it’s a disaster waiting to happen — one they’re not prepared for.
“We don’t have hazmat response resources in the immediate vicinity,” fire chief, Mark MacDonald said. “So there would be multi-agency, multi-jurisdiction response to a (potential) incident.”
City officials have reached out to CN Rail to voice their concerns with the plan, but as of now, all they’ve received in response was an acknowledgment of said concerns.
The next step for those who oppose the plan was to contact local members of parliament. They’ve forwarded the complaint to the Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau.
“Hopefully, we’ll have some closure on this file shortly,” MP for Bay of Quinte, Neil Ellis, said.
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Their hope is for CN to alter its plan and move the proposed fuel storage site elsewhere along the rail line, further from industrial facilities and residential areas.
Failing that, they would rather the plan disappear altogether.
“This a crazy idea and one we’re not interested in,” Panciuk said.
CKWS News reached out to CN for comment on this issue but has not yet received a response.