Hull Chelsea Wakefield Steam Train brush cutting has residents in a huff

avatar

by admin on October 28, 2010

Brad Grant of Burnett in Chelsea sent this photo of the debris left behind by train maintenance workers

Brad Grant of Burnett in Chelsea sent this photo of the debris left behind by train maintenance workers

Residents in Chelsea and Wakefield, Quebec are steamed over the Hull Chelsea Wakefield Steam Train’s maintenance program that saw trees and branches along the tracks chopped down.

The municipality received so many complaints that Chelsea Mayor Caryl Green walked the railway corridor with residents and has called for a public information session with the Compagnie du chemin de fer de l’Outaouais, which maintains the right of way.

“Certainly, we have been meeting with a number of residents who complained,” said Caryl Green. “We are facilitating a meeting the CCFO in the next couple of weeks.”

Green said safety, privacy and the environment are the main concerns voiced by residents. One of those is Brad Grant, who lives at Burnett.

“They ripped up the tracks at the expense of the privacy of people of Chelsea,” he said.

Grant viewed the careless way in which workers cut and chopped past his house as a more serious matter, given that debris sprayed his yard and roof.

“I am more into the safety aspect of this,” said Grant. “I had branches on my roof. And I was here.”

Andre Groulx, the HCW steam train owner, said the work done is necessary for overall safety.

“It needs to be done to provide a clear line of sight for the train to see and be seen,” said Groulx.

He said the CCFO assured him that no work would be done where people were near -  contrary to residents’ complaints, such as that of Grant.

Groulx said that the railway corridor extends from 40-80 feet on either side of the tracks, but the current brush-clearing was kept to a minimum – 22 feet on each side – an effort to appease environment and residents’ concerns. He said that both Transport Canada and Transport Quebec have inspected the work over the past three weeks.

River Road resident Alan Brabant is “disgusted” with the work, saying that mature, healthy trees were ground down to bits. Although it doesn’t affect his property directly, he does walk the tracks every day and the damage sickens him.

“It’s just incomprehensible. You don’t do something like that,” he said. “These are mature trees here. This is just nuts.”

The CCFO info session has yet to be scheduled, but Caryl Green wants residents to check the municipality website often for information, at www.chelsea.ca.