Canadian Consulting Engineer

$120 million to be spent on rebuilding Lac-Mgantic

The federal government announced on July 22 that it will provide $60 million to help rebuild the devastated town of Lac-Mégantic in the Eastern Townships of Quebec.

July 23, 2013   Canadian Consulting Engineer

The federal government announced on July 22 that it will provide $60 million to help rebuild the devastated town of Lac-Mégantic in the Eastern Townships of Quebec.

International Development Minister Christian Paradis, who is also the local MP, made the announcement while visiting the town. The province of Quebec has already dedicated another $60 million to the cause.

In the early morning of July 6 most of the downtown went up in flames after a runaway train carrying 7.2 million litres of light crude oil in 43 tanker cars crashed into buildings and burst into flames. It’s estimated the unmanned train had reached a speed of 100 kilometres before it jumped the tracks. The company operating the train is the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic (MMA) Railway.

So far 28 people have been identified among the dead, but 47 are believed to have died in total. Identifying victims is difficult due to the extent of the conflagration.

Clean-up of the spilled oil continues, with the Quebec Environment Ministry estimating about 5.7 million litres of oil have been spilled, affecting air, water and soil.

While the Transportation Safety Board is still investigating the cause of the unmanned train’s demise, groups are calling on the government to tighten the rules for rail transportation of goods, including a return to two-person train crews at a minimum.

The transportation of crude oil has increased drastically in the last four years according to an article in Maclean’s magazine about the disaster. It says that in 2009, 500 carloads of crude oil were transported in Canada, but “the Canadian Railway Association expects the figure to hit 140,000 carloads this year.”


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