Squamish citizen Gwen L’Hirondelle wants district to work with CN Rail for a pedestrian crossing at a local trail for her disabled husband.
“Squamish offers a wealth of opportunities – for the physically able, and some trails are basically accessible to those who are able to negotiate a packed soil surface, except for individual barriers,” Gwen says.
One such barrier is the CN Rail crossing along the south dike trail in the Squamish Estuary.
It is heavily used but it’s not accessible for people like her husband. The pedestrian crossing she wants could just be a simple gravel ramp, she adds.
Gwen and her husband Ed Dubois were very active in the outdoors before his disability became severe. Despite that challenge, Ed loves to go out and explore nature in Squamish.
However, the couple avoid the estuary trail because Ed is unable to cross the trail with his mobility device.
Gwen understands that CN is reluctant to support a pedestrian crossing, but says there is a solution.
“Given that the trail is packed gravel, we agree with the Squamish Trails Society that a simple gravel ramp would improve access at a reasonable cost while maintaining the character of the area,” she says.
A top district official says the district will take up the matter with CN, but warns that it won’t be easy to get the company to act.
Gary Buxton, the general manager of community planning and infrastructure, has told Gwen the district will talk to CN about the possibility of a formal crossing.
He doubts, however, that a gravel ramp would be enough to meet the requirements.
“I should note that rail crossings are never simple ventures, and there are required Transport Canada standards that both the federal regulator and the rail company would insist on,” he said.
“We can’t perform any work on railway lands unless we have the required approvals. We will follow up with CN to see what may be possible.”