Thursday, March 29, 2012

Is A Karmic Wind Blowing Through The Tree Stumps...


...At Rocky Mountaineer's False Creek Flats Train Station?

Why do I ask?

Well, if it hadn't been for a wee little provincial 'statute' change awhile back, it might still be possible for the current (not)Premier to declare passenger rail service in British Columbia essential so that she and hers could then immediately enact legislation to force locked-out Rocky Mountaineer Railtour workers back to work, like, yesterday.

That way the parent company, and it's owner, the good Mr. Peter Armstrong, wouldn't have to hire replacement workers (a.k.a. 'scabs') again this season.

What am I talkin' 'bout this time Willis?


First, here is Bob Mackin, nailin' another one down that nobody else in the proMedia is paying attention to in the pages of the Vancouver Courier:

"The upscale tourist railway that sells rides through what it calls unspoiled scenery is pledging to compensate the City of Vancouver after trees outside its False Creek Flats station were illegally cut.

"Rocky Mountaineer spokesman Ian Robertson denied the chopped limbs had any connection with the ongoing lockout of the company’s on-board attendants, who are part of the Teamsters union. The seven trees on Cottrell Street outside the Rocky Mountaineer Station were frequently used by the Local 31 members to hang their picket signs...

"The city’s Protection of Trees Bylaw carries fines of $500 to $10,000 per offence for unlawful damage or removal of a tree. Locked out workers noticed the trees had been denuded when they arrived at the Station for their March 5 protest rally..."


Next up is Norm Farrell's state of wonderment about whether or not those branches just might have acted as convenient picket sign hangers for the folks that were locked out and thus, well, you know....

Norm's even got 'before' and 'after' pictures. One thing we know for darned sure. There will be many fewer blossoms in the flats this year.


And finally, from our archives - a description of the changing of the 90 year-old provincial statute that made it possible for Mr. Peter Armstrong to set up his luxury hotel on wheels on very, very select chunks of former BC Rail track now 'leased' by, well....You know that too, right?....

RailGate Miscellanea....How Much Is That Statute Worth?


Way, way, way back in 1912 the Rail Companies that later became BC Rail were bound by statute to provide a passenger rail service on their lines.

All that changed abruptly, ninety years later, in the Fall of 2002 when the Government of Gordon Campbell and Martyn Brown et. al. inserted a one sentence change to the law under the deceptively innocuous header of
'Miscellaneous Statutes':

.....(N)one of the company, any subsidiary or any person under the control of the company or of any subsidiary is required to provide passenger service over all or any part of its line or lines of railway in British Columbia......


Who benefitted?


Did they who did, perchance, contribute any money of significance to the B.C. Liberal Party of Gordon Campbell and Martyn Brown?

Update: Answer to question posed directly above is here....


The key consideration here?

In the old days, when the 'statute' was still in place anybody running a passenger rail service would have had to go to more places, some of them considerably more remote, than just Banff and Whistler.

Which would make it just a wee bit more essential for the people of British Columbia.

But it would also make it a quite a bit less profitable for anyone who wanted to run rolling hotels over select railbeds to even more select resort destinations, I reckon.




Bernard said...

It always worth looking through the Misc Statute when they come up each year, you never know what is in them.

I raised the issue with numbers MLAs in 2002 and asked them to vote against the bill.

On the other hand, I worked hard on developing a business plan for a passenger rail service between Vancouver and Lillooet. The only way it would work is with a very large subsidy. The passenger levels, at the time by far the highest in BC for any inter-city rail service, was far too low to be viable.

RossK said...

Thanks Mr. von S.

Your point is taken.

I am just pointing out the irony here.

In, in my opinion, the extreme.