Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo is onboard with an effort to mitigate coal dust escaping from rail cars passing through the region.
Written correspondence dated Feb. 6, from the MLA to Mike Lovecchio, CP director of government affairs, states the two met on Jan. 19 to discuss increasing concerns of coal dust billowing out of rail cars travelling through the Shuswap.
Kyllo says the concern was first brought to his attention on Saturday, Aug. 5, while attending an event at the Sicamous Beach Park, where he witnessed a significant amount of coal dust emanating from rail cars crossing the Sicamous Narrows.
“I also received numerous concerns from marina operators in the Sicamous channel citing evidence of coal dust on boats and equipment in the vicinity of the bridge,” said Kyllo.
Subsequently, Kyllo has met with Salmon Arm resident Marijke Dake, who has been advocating for a spray station along the rails east of the Shuswap. Trains hauling coal currently stop at a spray station facility in Tappen, where the coal is sprayed with a polymer that holds the material in place.
“I had the pleasure of meeting with Ms. Marijke Dake, who provided me with copies of information and research she has collected in efforts to better understand coal dust emissions from rail cars, related health concerns and potential mitigation solutions,” said Kyllo. “I was impressed by the amount of time and effort Ms. Dake has undertaken in researching this issue, as well as the collaborative manner in which she is addressing this matter.”
During a Jan. 18 presentation to the Columbia Shuswap Regional District board, Dake said she too had met with Lovecchio and was informed CP would be looking at either using a stronger holding spray on coal cars or possibly even install another re-spray station.
“He said there’s no commitment at this time,” Dake told the board. “He said we’re going to put some testing processes in place… it was a very positive email.”
Kyllo’s letter to Lovecchio was received by the CSRD board of directors during their meeting of Feb. 15, the same day Lovecchio was scheduled to make a presentation to the board. Lovecchio, however, opted not to attend the meeting, telling CSRD chair Rhona Martin by phone that he had nothing new to report at this time.
Kyllo said in his letter that he’ll be supporting Dake’s efforts to mitigate coal dust being emitted from passing rail cars, and that he appreciates CP for working swiftly to identify various mitigation options.