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Arrest Outside North Van Chlorine Facility Highlights Concerns About Dangerous Transports Through Greater Vancouver

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"'Well we're on camera right now. And I'm on the radio with them and they want you to leave the area." Lins assumed the guard was referring to the RCMP.

"I'm cool with that, how about if I just go down the street there?" He pointed down to the next crossing area.

The guard said that would be fine.

"Then we just got into a casual conversation. I found out he's an ex-Ontario police officer. My impression was he was concerned about the safety of chlorine as well. That he thought it was a dangerous thing. My impression was that he was really seriously concerned about terrorists and the threat of an accident. While we were talking, I saw the train pull up to about 90 or 100 feet away from us. It moved forward 50 or 60 feet and it stopped and was waiting. I'm assuming it was waiting for me to leave. I saw four cars clearly marked chlorine."

Concerned Citizen

"I figure I better get out of here or I'm going to miss this. I walk down to my car, and just then, a gray unmarked police car drives out. It was kind of unsettling. I'm a citizen taking photographs. I've never done this before. I get in my car and turn around. The police car follows me and then follows behind me, about half way down the block. His lights go on. I pull over."

Lins then put his hands on the steering wheel of his 1991 black VW station wagon Passat and waited.

The officer shone his flashlight in the car and asked Lins what he was doing there.

"I tell him that I'm taking photographs, because I read online that chlorine is being transported from this plant here through the city and I think it's wrong. It's really dangerous," Lins said. "And I want to take photographs and document the label of the chlorine on the cars as they go by."

"Why do you want to do that, are you a protester?" the officer asked. "Are you affiliated with any protest groups or are you media?"

Lins again said he wasn't.

"So you're just a concerned citizen?" the officer asked.

Lins said yes.

The officer asked for Lins's driver's license and registration.

He gave it to him. Lins then noticed that the train was passing.

"There it is and as he's talking to me asking these questions. The train is going by and I see chlorine and hydrochloric acid and I'm trying to count the cars as they're going by and answer him at the same time. I'm saying it out loud and counting out loud and pointing my finger and trying to count and talk to him. Five chlorine rail cars go by. Then the train stops. While he's questioning me, the train's stopped right there. Then he's at the back of the car and I think that I can get a great shot so I quickly open my door and say, 'hey, is it okay if I still take pictures?' I know it is, but I want to hear it from him. He says, 'Yeah go ahead I don't care what you do just stay in the car.'

"At that point, a van drives across my plane of view really slowly. It's a CN Rail Police Van. There are lights on the top of it. I'm sitting in my car and I can see the CN Rail Police officer get out of the van and go and talk to the officer in the gray unmarked police car."

"I grab my camera and I'm like nervous as hell, all excited, I've been taking really nice photos for years, I'm a good photographer, but I am so nervous and so unsettled by being questioned by these guys, that my photos turned out like shit. I take five or six photos with the windows of the car already fogged up.

"He comes back to the car after a few minutes and I open my door and he doesn't give me back my driver's license. I open my door and he says, "I need you to step out of the car." I'm like what, really, are you kidding me? He says no you need to step out of the car. He says you need to step out of the car and turn and face towards the car. You're under arrest." Lins learned he was being charged under the Federal Railway Safety Act with entering land on which a railway line was situated.

Top Concern for US Department of Homeland Security

The Maplewood Advisory Committee criticized the North Vancouver Port Authority in 2007 for extending its lease with Canexus until 2032. The extension hinges on the upgrades now apparently underway and permits Canexus to manufacture enough chlorine to fill one additional railcar each day, bringing the average to six, Megan Stewart reported last August in the Vancouver Observer.

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