Is there another section of railway track that is not properly fenced off?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

July 28, 2015


Most of the problems we have as a city don’t go away.

In April of 2013 city council got into a major sweat over fatalities at railway crossings.

Will the sign make a difference?  If it doesn't - well we tried.  But if it does - that is a victory.  Denise Davey deserves great credit for her efforts.  Keep her in mind when it comes to selecting Burlington`s Best.

It took a while but the city came up with a solution when there was an unsafe opening to railway tracks on city property.

Staff were told to get fences up so that young people could not scoot across the railway tracks easily.  And appropriate fencing was put up.  As a result of the issue of people running across very busy railway tracks a committee was created to meet annually and keep track of where there were problems and ensure that the public was kept safe.

Rail -GO-train-without-protective-barrier

Before a citizen brought this unsafe path at the end of a city street this opening existed and was used regularly by people – including Councillor Jack Dennison who said it was a quick way to get over to Harvest Road.

When the fatalities were taking place in 2013 a parent who lost a child to a track crossing fatality delegated to City council, Regional council and met with the Minister of Transportation and they spoke to a group of people that had everyone who had anything to do with the rail lines sitting at the table

There was a lot of buck passing going on and then the energy that had been poured into the problem began to dissipate and the public interest moved on to the next problem.

There was another rail crossing fatality recently in the eastern end of the city – it didn’t get all that much publicity. People learned about the incident when the GO train they were on was delayed.

When there isn’t much said publicly people assume that the death was the result of a person with mental health issues – we don’t say it was a suicide – for some reason that isn’t a word the public wants to see. We know it happens – we just don’t want to talk about it.

Sheldon Creek - graffiti

Graffiti on the walls beneath the railway bridge is bright and colourful – the wonder is how in blazes the artists managed to climb up and do the painting. Did they levitate?

During a tour of the Sheldon Creek area where it runs through Sherwood Forest Park we came across some bold, colourful graffiti on the walks of the railway bridge – we wondered how they artist managed to get up that high.

The tour was to get a sense as to just how high the water had risen during the flood last August.

GO train approaching Sheldon Creek bridge

GO train traffic is now much more frequent. This section of the tracks is not adequately fenced. The problem is not with the railway or the city – it is with the property owner – not yet identified.

We made our way up the embankment to the level where the railway tracks ran over the creek and noticed that there were no barriers. The fence that was in place had been pushed down making it a snap to get to the railway tracks and cross over.

In the space along the creek there was evidence of small fires being lit; we bumped into some people sitting under the bridge, two males and one females – with one of the males on crutches walking along ground that was far from even.

We didn’t have to ask what they were doing there. The concern was the fence and how easy it was to get to the railway tracks.

Sheldon Creek Vince pulling fence GO line

Vince Fiorito pulls pf a section of fencing along the edge of a property that borders the rail line used by both GO and Via. The racks are in the background – yards away from a part of the Sheldon Creek where younger people hang out.

The small field was clearly a place where young people hang out – it is out of the way – they can make all the noise they want – no residential in the immediate area.

Drugs are used by young people – behaviour gets a little irresponsible and that’s when stupid things are done.

It’s a fence that needs repair and perhaps a little beefing up. It was clear that the fence had been down for some time which suggests there isn’t an active program on the part of either the city, the railways or the property owner to inspect the fences and ensure that they are doing what they were meant to do – keep people out of places that are dangerous.

Senior staff at city hall point out that “the responsibility for keeping fences in good repair is usually the responsibility of the property owner” – and added that “few companies walk their property line to check on the fences.

“When the media does their job and reports on these issues the vast majority of the property owners do the right thing and fix the fence.”

Background links:

The path that was the problem

The solution the city came up with

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