Producers may have to pay for upgrades along a Canadian Pacific line
By Diego Flammini
Farmers in Western Canada are concerned with a letter they received from one of Canada’s national railways.
Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) sent out letters on March 26 to farmers and landowners along the Bredenbury subdivision line, which stretches 189km (118 miles) between Minnesoda, Man. and Bredenbury, Sask.
The letter states that anyone with private rail crossings along that rail line may have to pay for any necessary upgrades.
“Once the grade crossing compliance updates have been completed by CP Rail workforce, an invoice will be generated and sent (to) you for payment instructions,” the letter reads, the Brandon Sun reported. “Please note, if CP does not receive a response to this letter, CP may proceed with the closure of the noted subject crossing.”
Existing grade crossings across Canada must meet federal regulations by Nov. 28, 2021. And repairing them can cost producers thousands of dollars per crossing located on the farmland.
These costs would be in addition to $350 in annual crossing fees farmers must pay to CP along with having necessary insurance policies.
Producer groups have been hearing from farmers about receiving CP’s letter.
Growers are already in difficult financial times with the pandemic and other input costs. Adding these expenses to already thin margins seems unfair, said Todd Lewis, president of Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan.
“I think at this time especially, now is not the time to start telling producers they need to pay for these repairs,” he told Farms.com. “It’s a pretty hard position for producers to accept and they are justifiably concerned about that.
“Rail safety is important without question, but all of a sudden in one fell swoop to say the upgrades need to be done off the backs of farmers seems pretty unfair at this point.”
Farms.com has reached out to CP for comment.