By officially announcing that the trains will finally get out of downtown Lac-Mégantic, Ottawa and Quebec hope to make a tangible contribution to the healing process of a community still severely affected by the sudden death of 47 of its family there are soon five years.
“No community should have to live what Lac-Mégantic has lived. No one should have to suffer the tragic loss of his, “said Friday morning the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, came to confirm on the spot the long-awaited railway bypass.
“You know, the day of the announcement of an infrastructure project, politicians are usually all smiles. Today, here, there is nothing that we would not give back to the past and avoid being there for this announcement. Of course, we can not rewrite history, but together we can shape the future and support this community in a special way, “he added, referring to an” important moment for the whole country. ” “.
Before more than a hundred citizens, stakeholders and elected officials who had moved into the parking lot of the downtown heritage station, despite the biting cold, Mr. Trudeau and his provincial counterpart Philippe Couillard have unveiled what we knew from the beginning of the week. Quebec and Ottawa have reached an agreement in principle to develop a 12.8-kilometer, $ 133-million, Lac-Mégantic by-pass for 2022 if all goes well.
A handful of citizens silently showed their opposition to the chosen route.
“The construction of this track is much more than a conventional railway infrastructure project. It is an exceptional response to an exceptional situation. Because basically, the relocation of the railway also contributes to the social reconstruction of the community of Lac-Mégantic and the municipalities of Frontenac and Nantes which have also suffered the repercussions of the tragedy of July 6, 2013. ” says the premier of Quebec.
If it took five years to come to this announcement, Mr. Couillard said it was the time needed “to analyze the situation, examine various scenarios and identify the best solution.”
Philippe Couillard recalled the feasibility study undertaken in 2015 and the Québec-Ottawa Interdepartmental Strategy Committee set up to monitor and arrive at a route that is a consensus in the community.
“Consensus does not necessarily mean unanimity, he insisted, but it rallies the vast majority of the population.”
“This railway is just far enough away and just close enough to support the current and future economic development of the region, the city and its industrial park. We must not forget that many companies in this industrial park rely on an efficient rail service, “said Mr. Couillard.
Although the route chosen has been extensively documented, Mr. Couillard said that the federal government, which will be project manager of the site, is open to certain accommodations to promote social acceptability.
“This is one of the reasons why I indicated that there would be a specific BAPE on the chosen route with a forum where people can express themselves. Adjustments will be possible, but adjustments at the margin. We are not going to start the process over again. But if it’s possible to make cost-effective travel to reduce some of the constraints, everyone will look at it. ”