A week after a runaway rail car rolled through Regina, the mayor is still demanding answers about why no one bothered to inform the city or the fire department.
Mayor Michael Fougere discussed the issue during his weekly interview with the CJME Morning Show on Tuesday. He said that the city and the fire department were not informed about the incident until two and a half days after it happened when they were alerted by questions from the media.
“Unfortunately and rather embarrassingly, for CN and the local company that was using the line, we weren’t told until then,” he said. “So it’s embarrassing. It’s actually unacceptable and it’s incredible given the events – not just of Lac Megantic – but of the whole conversation of rail safety and hazardous goods.”
Fougere said thankfully, in this case, the rail car was full of asphalt rather than another substance. He said the city has a robust emergency response team, but the key is notification, and they were not notified.
“I’ve spoken with the CEO of Cando, which is a company out of Brandon, and you know (they were) very apologetic and talked about missteps, and I let him know in no uncertain terms that it was completely unacceptable,” Fougere said. “The line is owned by CN Rail, they have some culpability here too for ensuring safety of the public.”
Andrew Swenson is the communications manager for the Co-op Refinery Complex. He confirmed the refinery has temporarily suspended operations with Cando Rail at the site in Regina. He said Co-op Refinery is participating in an internal investigation by Cando Rail, and will wait for that report to decide when to resume operations.
“Right now we’re waiting for the results of the investigation looking into it, so we haven’t set a particular timeline,” Swenson said. “But right now the most important thing here is safety and we’ll evaluate the results of the investigation when we have the results.”
On Monday the Transportation Safety Board of Canada confirmed it was launching an official investigation as well.
A media relations person for CN Rail confirmed on Tuesday that it resumed operations with Cando Rail after a brief suspension immediately after the incident to ensure safety procedures were being followed. CN Rail declined to provide any comment in response to the mayor’s comments about taking responsibility for safety.