April 25, 1974

LIB

Stanley Ronald Basford (Minister of State for Urban Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Basford:

Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the question very much. I would answer it by saying that this legislation is obviously designed to deal with situations that currently exist and correct things. With regard to railway lines, if they are being under-utilized or could more effectively be utilized, the CTC by way of a transportation plan would be allowed to make an order as to a relocation, re-routing or re-use of those lands or rights of way.

With regard to new towns, we passed legislation in this House a year ago to finance new towns. If you were developing a new town, I quite frankly cannot conceive that you would design it to have a major railroad relocation as part of the plan or a year after the start. A new community being planned and developed now would use the best possible planning techniques and advice. It would not have to use this kind of technique to go back and correct or change things. I appreciate the hon. member's concern that we consider new towns or new communities, something in which I am very interested; but in developing a new community, you would plan it so you would not have to use these provisions at all.

The hon. member raised the specific question of rapid transit or public transit. Again you would not have to use these provisions because you would have to put in the transportation facilities as part of the plan for the new community.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink
NDP

Thomas Speakman Barnett

New Democratic Party

Mr. Barnett:

Mr. Chairman, I specifically stopped my quotation from clause 6 before I came to the matter of rapid transit because this is not the point. I understand that the thrust of this legislation is to try to deal with actions taken in the past which might properly not have been foreseen in their long-term results. I am glad to know the minister is concerned about the planning of new communities.

The question I am raising is what authority of direction there is to a railway company, whether it is the CPR, which my friend from Calgary loves so much, or the CNR, which is the subject of his criticism, to ensure that a railway will be located in accordance with the desire of planners of new communities.

I am no authority on the provisions of the Railway Act or the kinds of powers a railway company can exercise. However, some of us have been hearing about decisions made in the past by a former general manager of the CPR regarding the location of towns. This may have refreshed our memories or put in our minds the kind of authority railways have with regard to putting in their lines.

As I read clause 6, it provides that, under the circumstances prescribed in this bill, specific authority is given to the commission to require a railway company to build a

April 25, 1974

Relocation of Railway Lines

railway line, in effect where the commission says it should. The general thrust of this bill is to provide for a constructive liaison between decisions of a commission and decisions made at a community level.

I raise this point because unless the minister can indicate to the committee that under some other existing authority there is a power of direction to the railway companies that they must co-operate in the development of a new community with regard to the location of lines and so on, this is something that should not be considered. That is, if we are going to prevent mistakes in the future rather than being altogether preoccupied with the mistakes of the past.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink
LIB

Stanley Ronald Basford (Minister of State for Urban Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Basford:

Mr. Chairman, I go back and say what I said before, namely that it seems inconceivable that you could plan a new community without planning your transportation facilities as part of that plan and without the need to rely on this legislation at all.

Let me cite two examples of new communities. One is in the national capital region, where I have been speaking of the development of a new community which at the moment is called Southeast City. It is being located there because of the attractiveness of the particular site and the fact that it now has a transportation corridor to it. One would plan that new community by providing transportation facilities to it as part of an original new plan for a new community, and without any reference to this particular legislation.

The other is the community of Pickering, being planned in association with the proposed new airport. That is a situation where the government of Ontario, in association with the airport, is planning a new community. We have again said we will co-operate with the provincial government in the provision of public transit and rapid transit facilities to that new community. They will be developed as part of a new transportation plan for that new community. They will be facilities that will not need correcting.

I want to say that in both examples I cited, Southeast City and the new community outside metro Toronto, they would be by definition an urban area deemed to be within an urban area. Southeast City would be deemed to fit within this definition if it wre necessary to apply it, although I cannot conceive of needing to make use of it. Both Southeast City and Pickering would be deemed to be within the definition.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink
NDP

Thomas Speakman Barnett

New Democratic Party

Mr. Barnett:

I want to thank the minister. I raised this point deliberately under the definition section in order to relate it to further clauses of the bill. I want time to think about the minister's answer before we come to clause 6.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink
SC

Gérard Laprise

Social Credit

Mr. Laprise:

Mr. Chairman, I would like to say a few words on Bill C-27, one of the most important pieces of legislation which, I believe, have been put before us during this session.

This bill binds the government for many years. The first question I am asking myself on this bill before us is to know if there are priorities in the field of transportation other than the relocation of railway lines.

Farm producers of western Canada as well as lumber operators complain, justifiably so, of a lack of railway cars. There are also reasonable complaints that the passenger service between the major cities is really of inferior quality, and I believe that these should be priorities to consider in order to improve transportation services.

The relocation of railway lines may have a sound basis. The environment needs protection, and urban beautification is desired. There is also talk of pollution, but knowing how fast has been the growth of urban centres in recent years, I think that this will continue for quite some time. And, in spite of the answer given by the minister to my hon. colleague for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Barnett), that urban development plans will prevent new construction along the relocated railway lines, I wonder to what extent they will work out.

A few weeks ago, I heard an interview on the radio about the pollution problems in Montreal. We know that in the metropolitan area that problem is rather serious at times and a director of Miron Co. Limited was asked his views, because the company was charged with polluting the air around its plants. The director's answer, in my opinion, was correct. He stated that when Miron Company was set up on its present location, that is a rather long time ago, it was practically open country where there was no residential area and it was precisely why it had been chosen. However, today the city is surrounding the plant. How can the people be prevented from getting close to that pollution centre? We know that such a large cement plant does create pollution problems.

In my opinion, the relocation of railway lines could create a number of problems.

In the past, people used to build their homes near waterways. For instance, they started with the St. Lawrence River. Then, they established their settlements along the main rivers, for these rivers provided the best means of transportation of that era. Later, people built villages along railway lines. Today, we mentioned Calgary, Montreal, Quebec City and some other great cities which have existed for hundreds of years. In those days, development was fairly slow. Today, railway lines can be relocated, but steps will have to be taken to prevent people from crowding around the new railway lines which will be rerouted out of the great cities.

If land is to be recovered in downtown areas, much will be lost in the areas surrounding the cities. When the hon. member for Scarborough (Mr. Harney) spoke a while ago-I do not know whether he had Montreal in mind- but he spoke of railway transport as an inexpensive mode of transport at a time of energy crisis.

In Montreal, for instance, we have commuter trains which offer the workers an inexpensive and convenient mode of transport. In Montreal East, railway lines will have to be replaced by another means of transport. Of course we have the subway and buses, but because of the large number of cars and trucks on our highways and streets, buses are not the answer to the massive movement of workers from the outskirts to the city or vice versa.

April 25, 1974

To my mind, commuter trains are very useful, and I wonder whether it is wise to cancel that means of transport.

There is another means of transport between large centres such as Quebec, Montreal, Toronto and the large cities in western Canada or the Maritimes, namely the plane. Still, one has to leave from downtown and drive several miles to reach an airport. For shorter trips, if you take the train to go to Halifax or Vancouver for example, you will still find a station downtown.

But if you relocate the railways, you will have to travel a longer distance before you can get to a station.

Mr. Chairman, we might create problems while solving existing ones.

I suppose that when he prepared this bill before submitting it to the House, the minister has made some research to see how much money had to be invested in travelling.

The minister said that more than 600 municipalities would benefit from this act. My opinion is that it will require a considerable investment. I do not know if the minister has figured out how much it would cost in total, but I guess that the budget will have to be allotted each year and that the House will have to vote these sums.

There is another point just as important. Has it been foreseen, since the amount invested each year is rather limited, which cities will be able to relocate these lines?

I think there will be violent controversies between municipalities and provincial or federal governments.

A few minutes ago, the hon. member for Calgary North (Mr. Woolliams) mentioned the need for three-level conferences so that the three levels of government can reach an agreement on this question. But I am not so sure it would be useful to invite municipalities to such conferences to discuss these projects.

Recently Mayor Lamontagne of Quebec City compared the current situation of municipalities to that of a child of divorced parents. It is never possible to speak to both parents simultaneously; in the same way, municipalities cannot meet senior levels of government at the same time to discuss problems together.

Therefore, if we want to be logical, if we want to implement this program in order that it may bring the satisfactory results we are anticipating, municipalities will have to be allowed to have their say about the development of their area.

It may be, as the minister said a few moments ago, that in a large city, a relocation may involve more than one municipality. At that time, serious negotiations will be required to bring about agreement among the parties involved.

I think that on the whole, the bill proceeds from a good principle, but I feel that care will be needed in its application and in the surveys and studies to be conducted.

Perhaps we want to solve some of our cities' problems. Well and good, but I am wondering whether in doing so we will not be creating new problems.

In any event, if we relocate these railway lines and stations that were in the centre of cities, I believe that we must consider at the same time developing a rapid transit

Relocation of Railway Lines

service, not too expensive and suitable for workers living in the suburbs.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink
PC

J. Michael Forrestall

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Forrestall:

Mr. Chairman, if I might, I should like to pick up the thread of the remarks of my colleague the hon. member for Calgary North by making one or two comments regarding some of the fears we have on this side of the Chamber. It has been suggested by other speakers, I believe the hon. member for Central Nova and others, that we welcome this type of legislation. I liken it somewhat to a schooner with a full set of sails; but, as pointed out by the hon. member for Calgary North, we are a little bit concerned about the wind that is going to fill those sails. He was talking about the efficiency and adequacy of Canadian National Railways' management effectively to administer and operate within the parameters of this legislation.

This bill essentially extends to the CTC the authority for management of what is proposed and contained therein. While it is an arm of government, it seems we would be a little remiss if we were not to take a few minutes to look at the general competency of the CTC and the CNR to administer this authority. If you look at the past history of the CTC you will find it is not such as to give someone like myself any great encouragement that it will be able to deal efficiently with the authority and power as well as the funds given to it.

As in everything else, there are certain instances which occur from time to time that discourage one in this area, and I think in this type of debate it is appropriate to cite some of them. I intend to do so, as others have done, to indicate a lack of trust in the efficiency and adequacy of the CTC.

A case occurred only a month or two ago in which an application was made by the city of Dartmouth for funds to assist in the removal of one of our city's more inelegant examples of a CN 1920 baroque, if you will, and to replace it with something more modern, thereby doing away with a very dangerous intersection. Not only did the CTC take well over a year and a half to decide what to do, but having made a decision it failed to notify any of the parties that awaited its decision in order that they could get on with this work for well over a month. This would indicate not just a lack of concern on the part of the commission, but an absolutely disgraceful and callous attitude, if you will, toward municipalities and other bodies that simply must know of decisions like this for various reasons, including budgetary ones.

This undue delay in advising the parties of the decision of the CTC is continuing to have an effect on the progress of this work. Apparently having made a decision, it was filed away and forgotten. This happened a long time ago and I have seen nothing happen in this case, so it makes one question the efficiency of the CTC.

Another area of concern is this decision making process that is entrusted to the CTC. I have in mind the authority to make decisions in this whole area of urban rail transportation and to advise ministers of the Crown. I suppose the Minister of Transport is most likely to be the one

April 25, 1974

Relocation of Railway Lines

involved in this regard, particularly in respect of whether such shared cost programs should be initiated.

When we give authority to the CTC and a fairly heavy bank account, I think members of this chamber are quite justified in asking for some reassurance by way of action. We want some demonstrated reason for placing our trust in the ability of the CTC to administer, and I must say that my experience is such that I cannot help but be anything but concerned.

I suppose many examples could be given of this experience. I think of another one in the Halifax urban area involving a problem in the constituency of my dear colleague, our distinguished Chairman this evening. This has to do with a rail commuter service. I would cite this example to underline my concern about whether the CTC is in fact capable. This involved a long and protracted process, still underway, in the establishment of a commuter service to serve the outlying area of my own metropolitan Dartmouth-Halifax riding. In this instance all that was sought was a rescheduling of certain existing rail services to provide the people with a much needed service. The railway companies said no, not unexpectedly, citing their own problems, in the details of which I am sure hon. members are not interested.

To say the least, the railway companies, in this case both the CN and CP, were not very anxious or willing to do anything on their own and, accordingly, the citizens, with their somewhat impressive concern about this commuter service, presented a petition to their member of parliament. It eventually came across my desk and I wrote to the CNR, which again said no.

I then wrote to the Dominion Atlantic Railway which operated part of the commuter service on the tracks, and the reply I received was the same. They said they were merely a subsidiary of CPR and that since the terminal facility belonged to the CNR they could do nothing, that their hands were tied. I then addressed myself to the Minister of Transport, who in turn shuffled me off to the Canadian Transport Commission. He did so without any comment at all, I suppose believing I would flounder there.

On January 28 this year I addressed myself to the Chairman of the CTC and asked if he could advise me of the progress to date. That letter has not been answered to this point in time, April 25. Hon. members with longer memories will remember with some interest the contribution made in this chamber by a former member from Hamilton West who has since departed to a committee of the CTC. I believe he has been elevated to the position of executive director of the committee.

Mr. Macaluso, in a letter written to me over a month ago, advised me that studies in respect of this commuter service were underway but that no progress could be reported. I called his office this afternoon and the response was that there was still no word. Apparently the railway companies have not seen fit to answer the committee. So obviously the railway companies no longer tread in any fear of the CTC and feel they have successfully captured the commission.

This tale of frustration and indecision would seem to me after having been in this chamber some years, to be typical of the incompetence of the government. In addition, I am by no means convinced that the commission itself is being chaired, as it is in a sense by another of our former colleagues, in a manner that in any way demonstrates any concern, or indeed any desire, to accept the responsibilities charged to the commission under existing legislation, let alone any ability to deal efficiently with this new legislation. The inescapable conclusion I suppose one might draw from this is that the government in a sense lost the initiative to assist, let alone sustain, the CTC, which is being asked to exercise considerable authority under this particular bill.

I suggest that the apathy has spread to various other commissions and agencies. There would appear to be a lack of leadership and drive. There is frustration over the difficulty of obtaining simple things or getting things done for people, and yet when asking us to accept what is essentially a long overdue piece of legislation the government also asks us to give powers to a body whose chairman, and perhaps even the other members, should be fired.

With new blood on the commission perhaps it might be stirred up and we might get a little action. I suggest we will not get such action under the present system. I cannot even get an answer after 18 months in respect of a simple matter like a commuter service or the reason that a train schedule cannot be altered by five minutes in order to accommodate thousands of families who live in a very rapidly growing area, albeit not the largest area of Canada but a healthy and growing area.

I do not wish to wander from the subject matter before us and cover other areas, but there are a number of other matters which have been touched on by the hon. member for Abitibi and by my hon. friend from Vancouver Island, who spoke about planning priorities and so on. I do note that in virtually every phrase in the bill there is some reference to the convenience and safety of the travelling public.

I would be somewhat remiss if I did not direct another shot at the minister, not necessarily the minister who is guiding this bill through the House, in respect of safety and the assurance that Canadians must have in respect of their transportation facilities. This is the assurance that institutions such as parliament owe to the people who use the transportation system. I refer to the regulatory body which investigates accidents within the parameters of its regulatory authority. Here we are giving more authorithy to the CTC to administer a fund that will be established, yet we do not consider the other aspects. I suggest, and I believe other members in this chamber share my view, that there is nothing in the performance of the CTC to warrant any confidence in it with regard to the administration of this particular bill.

The requirement in respect of public inquiries is a permissive thing under this legislation. We might have wished the minister had provided within the bill a means by which the public at large could perhaps, by the simple instrument of a petition to the CTC or other body, apply for a public hearing. I note that my colleagues to the left in this chamber would like that provision to be mandato-

April 25, 1974

ry, so that there would be public hearings in every instance.

It would seem to me, however, that many applications for meaningful and useful assistance will be made under the provisions of this legislation, and not all of them by any stretch of the imagination will require public inquiries. Indeed, the process of establishing the mechanics of a public inquiry might in some cases unduly delay the issue. So rather than have this made mandatory, I wish the minister might have built in a provision for an inquiry to be made on the part of people who might be affected. I cannot help but say, perhaps just in passing but fairly seriously, that the Minister of Transport, and indeed even his delightful and charming parliamentary secretary, while sometimes agreeing with me, on many occasions are not prepared to do anything about ideas that are presented. They have not really demonstrated any enthusiasm in respect of the transportation needs of Canada. Perhaps that will change shortly, but there is no enthusiasm. That is a somewhat startling admission regarding those who have had a degree of absolute control over that area for long periods of time. But I think even the parliamentary secretary would admit that there are times when he himself is not enthusiastic, even though we are chiding him for being the only live spokesman for the department. The department has run out of steam; it has given no leadership. We have been waiting for this piece of legislation, as the provinces have been waiting for it, for ten years now, and the government asks us to approve it with enthusiasm when we know they will turn it over to a body which operates within their parameters and reports to them. But there is no steam there either; there is no energy. I do not think even Geratol will help the chairman of that commission. There is no demonstrated reason why we should express other than respect for the measure that is in front of us and a deep concern for the commission, the body that will administer it.

As I say, we praise the principle of the bill, but its implementation and effective administration cause me some concern, as I am sure they do many thousands of Canadians. I commend my colleague, the hon. member for Central Nova, for the remarks he made here this afternoon. This is indeed an interesting bill. One aspect of it is that it seems to bring together several ministries of the Crown.

Perhaps I should stress again the need for the government to assure us that as the body behind this piece of legislation they will accept some responsibility with regard to the attitude of the CTC to the implementation of the provisions of this bill. The government should perk them up a little bit and get them working. Good God, a few mistakes once in a while are nothing compared with the work that can be achieved. It would be a welcome and refreshing thing to most of us in this chamber compared with their track record in recent years, which has shown them to be somewhat less than useful, at least as far as I am concerned.

Obviously the commission will have to do better in the future, but they will not do better unless the government spurs them on. My colleague, the hon. member for Calgary North, earlier asked who runs the country. It seems to me

Relocation of Railway Lines

that it is the CNR in these times. Obviously the CNR do not care about the CTC and they have never given a damn about the government. So I am not all that happy with the administrative mechanics behind this legislation, or with the demonstrated enthusiasm on the part of the CTC, indeed the absence of it on the part of the government, to make sure that the provisions of this bill are not only administered but administered with some imagination and enthusiasm. The government should ensure that this legislation does not bog down in some corner of somebody's back filing drawer, but rather that it is used to the extent that the provinces and municipalities require to correct some serious situations that have existed for many years and that worsen each year as property values go up.

Let the government take hold of the CNR and of the CTC and let them know once in a while that this chamber and they as the government do have some concern about the way in which these two bodies go about administering this act. When the government do this, some people on this side of the House will let them have the type of support that is required for the meaningful implementation of the provisions of this bill. For many of us this will mean a long overdue but very welcome involvement in work in our own communities.

We welcome this bill, Mr. Chairman, but I request of the government that they make absolutely certain that the administrative body is shaken up a little bit. Let the government point out to them the necessity for a more vigorous approach to the massive problems that they must tackle under the provisions of this legislation and make sure that they do so with some enthusiasm.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink
PC

A. Daniel McKenzie

Progressive Conservative

Mr. McKenzie:

Mr. Chairman, earlier today I spoke in support of this bill, and now I would like to ask the minister two questions. I have a copy of the Winnipeg railway study which covers a number of aspects of rail line relocation with regard to the economic benefits and the social and environmental impact of such. I should like to quote from a letter from the Damas Smith consulting firm in the city of Winnipeg. They refer to CP Rail and say: "The railway has acquired land south of the main line". However, they do not say how far south. If they go as far south as they can, they will go up to Saskatchewan Avenue which is adjacent to residential property. They say;

The railway has acquired land south of the main line between the Perimeter Highway and the Airport for a new classification yard. It will probably build this yard.

As I stated this afternoon, CPR has been acquiring property adjacent to residential property. I should like to ask the minister: What protection will the city have in this situation?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink
LIB

Stanley Ronald Basford (Minister of State for Urban Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Basford:

Mr. Chairman, I want to make it clear to the hon. member that I am not familiar with all the details of the Winnipeg proposals because I have not had to familiarize myself with them. The hon. member asks what kind of protection would be provided under this legislation. First, the initiation of the relocation proposal must come from the municipality or province. That is very clear in this legislation. They are the applicants to the CTC. They put together an urban development plan and a transportation plan on the basis of studies and work, and they

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April 25, 1974

Relocation of Railway Lines

put that to the CTC. So it seems to me that the protection about which the hon. member asks lies in the fact that the applicant is the municipality, in this case the city of Winnipeg. That is the first general area of protection. I am not referring at this point to specific sections, although this would be clear as we go through this bill clause by clause.

The other point is that the CTC will deal with the application, and on any major ones, as I made clear this afternoon, they will undoubtedly hold hearings. So if there is an objection to what the municipality has done, they will have the right to be heard and will have protection in that way. So the fact, that the municipality prepares the application and is the initiator of the railway relocation proposals is the first line of protection.

The second line of protection is the public hearings. The third, of course, is the CTC itself. If some part of the plan was clearly not in the public interest in terms of the urban area, the commission would not go along with the plan. The railroad simply cannot put in a facility wherever it wants without the approval of the commission. Those three areas are the protection which the hon. member asked for.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink
PC

A. Daniel McKenzie

Progressive Conservative

Mr. McKenzie:

Mr. Chairman, it would appear that the railways are being presumptuous in acquiring land already, so you can understand our concern. My second question is another quotation from the Damas Smith letter to the city of Winnipeg. At page 8, it says:

The railway reception areas or impact corridors were studied in some depth in the railway study. It was concluded that these corridors should be designed so that the "community remains whole", that is to say the adverse effects of the railway should be designed out. This means that the cost of railway relocation will automatically include the cost of environmental protection.

When I see a map in the Damas Smith report showing a new rail line going through an area like Assiniboia Park, I wonder how the environmental protection cost would be covered for the largest environmental park in Winnipeg.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink
LIB

Stanley Ronald Basford (Minister of State for Urban Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Basford:

Mr. Chairman, what the hon. member is reading from is a set of proposals which set out a series of options for railroad relocation in Winnipeg, none of which has the approval of the municipality, the province or the federal government. They are just a set of proposals. If there is one proposal about the use of Assiniboia Park which is environmentally damaging to the municipality involved, I presume it would not be part of the urban plan.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink
PC

William Charles Frank

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Frank:

Mr. Chairman, I will try not to take too long. I appreciate the opportunity to ask the minister or the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister, of Transport for clarification on the funding of a specific relocation project which I feel should be a tremendous urban renewal step forward for the city of London, part of which represents an important part of my riding. The part of the bill that I am not too clear about is the percentage of funding that could be expected for such a project. In order to give the minister a picture of what I am speaking about, I should like to outline what is there now and the tremendous improvement that could be made by its relocation.

First of all, we have both main lines operating through the city of London. Both CPR and CNR are there, they operate as separate entities, but the facilities are somewhat different. The CNR has a relatively new station and the facilities are in reasonably good shape. The CPR station is somewhat antiquated and I doubt very enticing to passengers. The two railways operate about a mile apart, through the main core of the city. The CPR has only two crossings that are not open through the whole area, which is approximately four miles long. You can imagine the number of level crossings that people have to contend with, particularly in the mornings and evenings. Even though it is a single line track that the CPR operates on, it is hard to estimate how many hundreds of man hours are lost by people each day waiting on train switching or for a freight train of over 100 cars passing through. The yard area is on the east side of the city.

The CNR right of way is a double line track and, as I said before, is in reasonably good shape. The CPR right of way is located in such a position that it could fill a very desperate need for an east-west, in-city traffic route for rapid transit, automobiles, or whatever would best serve future in-city traffic flow.

I feel the possibility of dualing these two main lines through the city of London is unique. Some six miles from the present CNR station and less than two miles from the city limits to the west of London the two lines are literally side by side, separated only by a telegraph line. I know this area well because the two main lines go through property where I have lived all my life. The side by side area I speak of is immediately east of my property. It would be a natural thing to route these two traffic potentials to the two-track CNR line, and would be almost equally convenient to separate them to go their separate ways east of the city by way of a spur CNR line that already heads north east and presently crosses the CPR line. It would be quite easy to reroute them. After they have progressed through the city on the dual line, they could go their separate ways again.

No doubt the proposed in-city relocation would present some technical and manpower problems, but the many advantages would far outweigh the disadvantages. One problem, of course, that would have to be overcome would be the relocation of some employees in the yards in the existing facilities that operate within the city on the CPR line. However, I am sure that would not be a major problem.

This is a very brief explanation of the present situation and the possible future of the railroads in London. My question to the minister is for some clarification of the percentage of funding that would be possible. If I have made myself clear I would like an answer to that.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink
LIB

Stanley Ronald Basford (Minister of State for Urban Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Basford:

Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the remarks made by the hon. member for Middlesex. They point out a wonderful example of what happens in cities. He has chosen the city of London to demonstrate the need for this legislation. It is just such situations that are to be dealt with, and that is why I think the legislation should be passed as soon as possible.

With reference to the city of London scheme, I understand that they have consultants working on this. We have

April 25, 1974

been informed that the city is at a preliminary study stage, but the scheme is being worked out within the framework of the proposed railroad relocation bill. So that when the bill is passed the work of the consultants will fit the mechanism of the bill. The financial mechanism provided in the bill would mean that the city of London could apply to my department for 50 per cent of the study costs of developing the urban plan, and to the Department of Transport for 50 per cent of the cost of developing the transportation plan.

Then, once the relocation scheme is approved, they can get a grant equal to 50 per cent of the net cost to the railroads of the relocation scheme, plus moneys-we will deal with this when we come to the appropriate section- which might be required if some of the land were used for housing. That is, they could get money for housing or funds for special crossings under Parts II and III of the act.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
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PC

William Charles Frank

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Frank:

I appreciate the minister's explanation, Mr. Chairman, and I hasten to add I appreciate what this bill will provide. I am well aware of the study which is under way. However, X am confused about the 50 per cent and the 80 per cent. Is there any possibility of an 80 per cent area coming into effect by this relocation provision?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
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LIB

Stanley Ronald Basford (Minister of State for Urban Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Basford:

No, Mr. Chairman, but I prefer to answer that when we deal with specific clauses under Part III which relate to funds payable with regard to grade crossings, new grade separations, or the construction of existing ones.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
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NDP

William George Knight

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knight:

Mr. Chairman, I approve of the bill. I should like consideration to be given to the tax load borne by communities smaller than Winnipeg or Toronto. I am referring to places like Weyburn. We should examine some of the cost factors involved in this legislation.

In the last 50 minutes I have heard many good questions asked, but have not heard one member say he opposes this bill. Within the last ten days the Federation of Mayors and Municipalities has told us to pass this bill. Considering the present situation of this parliament and the prospect which may arise in the coming weeks, I suggest that this bill should pass. Unless the next speaker says he opposes the bill, I suggest we should pass it. Of course, if someone opposes it we should be prepared to listen to him.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink
PC

Donald Alex Blenkarn

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Blenkarn:

Mr. Chairman, I have some serious reservations about some proposals of the bill.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink
NDP

William George Knight

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knight:

Every member from Toronto should vote for it.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink
PC

Donald Alex Blenkarn

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Blenkarn:

The definition of "urban development plan" is fatuous. We are told that:

... 'urban development plan' means a plan respecting the development and use of land within or within and adjacent to an urban area whereby it is proposed to control and regulate the use of such land for purposes of industry, commerce, government, recreation, transportation, hospitals, schools, churches, residences, homes for the elderly or for other purposes or classes of users ...

I suggest that such definition in a bill in the name of the Minister of Transport is fatuous. If the urban development

Relocation of Railway Lines

plan does not provide for a home for the elderly, for a church, for a school or for a recreation centre, it cannot be considered by the minister. Perhaps the minister will say something about that.

Presumably the plan would be examined by the Canadian Transport Commission. Despite what the hon. member for Assiniboia said, members on my side have serious reservations about the Canadian Transport Commission. In September, 1972 560 people worked for the commission. It is now seeking budgetary authority for some 860 employees, representing an increase in employment of 60 per cent. The commission is under the chairmanship of a former member of this House. He was minister of finance but is now head of the Canadian Transport Commission. He is to be responsible for determining if transportation corridors in our cities presently owned by the railways are to be turned over to other authorities for other purposes.

The House must look carefully at the relocation provisions of the bill. While it may be necessary to relocate some railway routes, we must make certain that we do not lose valuable transportation corridors through cities, as cities can no longer obtain them by filing a plan with the commission and having the commission rubber stamp it.

Look at what happened in Ottawa. A conference centre was built where the downtown railway station used to be. That station was convenient for travellers who came from Toronto or Montreal. To get to and from the Ottawa railway station nowadays, you must take a cab or some other conveyance.

As a rapidly changing urban society we face many difficulties. Changes in our urban society will be reviewed by the Canadian Transport Commission. Members are concerned about the personalities of commission members who are to make determinations in these areas. We are concerned because through such determinations we could easily lose valuable existing rights of way in our cities.

That brings me to the situation in Toronto. People are concerned about the CPR line which runs through the city. That line causes some residents annoyance, because trains make a noise. One of the problems is this. That line could be abandoned in compliance with a redevelopment plan, and the result would be, say, some 176 extra acres for housing, for industry or for other innumerable purposes. The right of way could be preserved. However, the sale of a crucial five or even ten acres of that 176 acres might mean that there would no longer be a right of way through the city to meet the city's rapid transit requirements. It is so easy, when pretending to be bright, to be intelligent, to be capable, and with the best intentions in the world for improving the city, to wind up losing valuable rights of way which can never be replaced. The provisions of this bill would make it easy for rights of way to be lost. May I call it ten o'clock, Mr. Chairman?

Progress reported.

1780

April 25, 1974

Adjournment Debate

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink

PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION


A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 40 deemed to have been moved.


April 25, 1974