No Landowner Notification
On May 12, 2010 our doorbell rang and our lives changed. An earthworks contractor was at our door inquiring whether we would be interested in selling some clay from our land to use as fill material for a project he was bidding on. When we asked what project this might be, the contractor said the new rail yard that’s getting built next to your house. The contractor indicated they had been told by Cando Contracting Ltd. not to notify adjacent landowners so as not to alert us about the proposed rail yard; however, this particular contractor thought they could save some truck hauling costs by purchasing fill material from adjacent landowners.
We later discovered that Cando Contracting Ltd. had been planning for over a year to build an industrial rail yard right next to our acreage home, our neighbour’s farm and two protected natural areas. The rail yard would consist of an extra track (siding) plus 10 tracks side-by-side to store 225 petroleum tanker cars owned by Imperial Oil. To say the least, we were shocked. Within a few days we learned that Cando had spoken to the County of Strathcona in Fall 2009 about this rail yard which they planned to build on CN’s right-of-way next to the existing CN Camrose Sub-Division Mainline. We could not believe that no one had contacted us as the adjacent landowners about the project – not Cando Contracting Ltd., not CN, not Imperial Oil and not the County of Strathcona. We later found out that this practice of not notifying landowners and not following rules, guidelines and in some cases, legislation, has happened before for Cando and CN, particularly following privatization of CN in 1995. However, we were shocked to find out that our municipal government let us down; not only did they not make us aware of this project earlier on, but they disregarded proximity guidelines agreed to by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (of which Strathcona County is a member).