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[Guelph] Response to Howitt Park Neighbourhood Group: Fence the railway, please.

By shost at 12:30 pm on Friday, February 24, 2012
The following was sent to the Guelph Tribune in response to the following article,
and also copied to the Howitt park Neighbourhood Association (http://www.hpng.ca/):
To the Howitt Park neighbourhood residents:

 It was quite appalling to read in the Guelph Tribune February 21 that
one of your residents is encouraging people to "Just have to cross the
tracks" to access the new development in the Lafarge Lands from Howitt
park, and to avoid placement of fencing along the railway right of way.
All this despite the addition of GO trains on an already busy railway
which is a recipe for more needless deaths.

 Please, fence the railway. On average, one person EVERY YEAR DIES IN
GUELPH on our Railway tracks and most of which on the busy freight and
passenger "North Mainline". Most of the deaths have been unfortunate
incidents of people tresspassing on the railway despite the dangers.
Furthermore, many recent fatailities occured at the adjacent Margaret
Greene park (Guelph Mercury, October 2 2011 and July 29 2007) also due
to reckless trespassing and disregard for railway safety. Does it only
take four months to forget someone has died and to move on as if nothing
happened? Let's not forget the fact CN police could charge anyone
crossing the railway with tresspassing, which comes with a hefty fine
(up to $5000, and possibly jail time).

 You do have an alternative, a legal, signaled public crossing or a
railway tunnel, but who will foot the multi million dollar bill for this
when the Silvercreek Underpass will be built and provide a perfectly
safe alternative?

 The Railway has been in place since 1855 and it was our founding
fathers that decided to cut the park in half in the name of
transportation progress. Only when the railway is properly fenced in
will these accidents be (mostly) prevented.

 Hence, you should take back comments which encourage trespassing on
the railway, those affected by the many deaths would most certainly
appreciate it. Finally anyone who wishes to get involved in promoting
railway safety in the community is encouraged to contact Operation
Lifesaver at http://www.operationlifesaver.ca [1] or if you see unsafe
behaviour, call the CN police at 1-800-465-9239

 Stephen C. Host
 Guelph, Ontario
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