Editorial: Focus on the right industry, bring back lower canyon access

Editorial: Focus on the right industry, bring back lower canyon access

An interesting thing I learned last week was that CP Rail has been wanting the Town of Golden to accept its industrial wastewater into the domestic treatment system since 2002.

The people in Golden have benefited from the jobs created by CP Rail, and have put up with a lot of nonsense from the company for many years. Most noticably, is when we wait at rail crossings for upwards of a half an hour, when they should not be blocked for more than five minutes. Under Transport Canada regulations, a train is allowed to stop on a public crossing for up to five minutes.

In recent years, CP Rail took a toll on Golden’s tourism industry. Rafting companies had been crossing CP Rail’s tracks for decades to access the lower canyon of the Kicking Horse River. This section was one of the main attractions for rafting companies, and it was a huge loss for many of them to be denied access.

But they weren’t just denied. CP Rail strung them along with hopes of coming up with a solution, and then they blocked and gated the crossing.

When the Town of Golden looks at a request like accepting wastewater from a company that hasn’t treated its citizens very kindly, perhaps they should look at all of their bargaining chips.

This could be a perfect opportunity to request a solution to lower canyon access.

The Town of Golden created requirements for CP Rail to meet before it would consider accepting the wastewater. These included meeting suitable pretreatment expectations, environmental testing, and more.

While it is beneficial that CP Rail sends its wastewater to the Town of Golden’s system instead of discharging it into the environment, we could be putting more pressure on them to fix the other issues that have been created in the community.

The truth is, Golden’s industry is changing. Once, it was a thriving industrial town. Now, it is geared toward tourism and hospitality. If we want to continue to grow in this direction, we need to take care of that industry. The Town of Golden should keep this top of mind if we want to be a successful Resort Municipality.

Millions of dollars have been poured into Golden as part of the Resort Municipality Initiative in the past 12 years. As one of 14 communities across the province that have been designated as a Resort Municipality, we should keep priorities like access to the lower canyon as a priority.