KAMLOOPS — It's been an intersection of opinions, as well as pedestrian, rail, and vehicle traffic. The CP Rail crossing on Third Avenue, between Lansdowne and Lorne Streets has been a safety concern since September, when some pedestrians were observed bypassing the gates, or crawling over stopped trains.
There have been several attempts at finding a solution; on Wednesday January 20th, after the Blazers game, Kamloops By-Law officers barricaded off Lorne Street, and directed foot traffic over the pedestrian walkway. That night, there weere several altercations, which resulted in By-Law officers being verbally and physically abused. After that incident, the City of Kamloops, CP Rail, Kamloops RCMP, and the Kamloops Blazers have partnered to help find a better solution.
Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Kamloops, David Trawin said, for the most part, the fans leaving Sandman Centre complied with the By-Law officers. He also said there were some who thought having to walk up and over the pedestrian walkway was too much to ask. "Approximately 100 people were very... volatile.They pushed By-Law officers out of the way, verbally abused By-Law officers. In one case, a By-Law officer was shaken, and was off work for a couple of days. Physically shaken, not mentally shaken."
The City hopes the problem has been solved, and they'll test the new system tonight. Kamloops RCMP, as well as City By-Law officers will be at the crossing, making sure pedestrians cross safely. If a train needs to cross, officers will ensure pedestrians yield to rail traffic.
Blazers' GM Stu MacGregor says he wants fans to be safe. "Safety is the number one priority," MacGregor said. "You don't want people getting injured. CP doesn't want people getting injured, the City doesn't want people getting injured [and} the Blazers don't want people getting injured."
MacGregor also aknowledges the City didn't effectively communicate the change in policy to the team, or the fans. "Unfortunatelty, there wasn't great communication... at this point in time, I think the City has come together with a good proposal. People will still be able to use the street crossing, as long as there's no train in place," said the Blazers' GM. He added "If a train is on approach, they'll close the crossing and wait until the train crosses."
Despite the lapse in communication, David Trawin says there's no excuse for the poor treatment of the By-Law officers. "You know, I don't think it's acceptable to physically abuse, or verbally abuse [By-Law officers]. You may not like it... but there's no need to verbally abuse someone who's just doing their job."
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