A Mount Currie man was struck and killed on the train tracks near Pemberton just two days before stakeholders met with CN Rail to discuss the creation of a safe trail beside the tracks.
"Its really painful timing that it should happen just before the meeting," said Friendship Trail proponent Maureen Douglas.
"I think (the presentation to CN) told the story and the need fairly well and they were certainly listening to that. Unfortunately it had more resonance because of the incident that occurred this weekend."
According to police, 47-year-old Curtis Stewart Pascal came out of the woods beside the rail line around 8:30 Sunday morning and was walking along the tracks alone. The train crew repeatedly sounded their emergency whistle to no avail.
"I understand that he just wasnt responding to the emergency whistle and the train, at the same time, activated its emergency brakes," said RCMP spokesperson Devon Jones. "But as you know a train takes pretty much a kilometre or so to stop even when they put their brakes on full tilt.
"There doesnt appear to be any indication of any kind of foul play, no indication of suicide and we dont have any indication at this point if alcohol was a factor."
The accident has rocked the small First Nations community.
"Right now the community is incredibly saddened at the news of the accident," said Mount Currie Administrator Sheldon Tetreault. "Its incredibly tragic. Everyones thoughts are with the family at this time and (we) really want to provide comfort to the family and friends. And we also obviously respect the grieving of the family and the community."
Tetreault is another one of the four proponents of the Friendship Trail, along with Douglas, Jordan Sturdy and Nathalie Klein.
The proposed trail would run more than seven kilometres from Pemberton to Mount Currie. People already use the area to walk or ride in between the two communities despite the fact there is no official trail there.
"As far as our group goes," said Tetreault "it gives us greater resolve, and I hope all of the community greater resolve, to find practical ways to increase the safety of the residents between Pemberton and Mount Currie.
"And our belief is that the best way to do that is through establishing a controlled route. We think it should run parallel to the tracks and we believe that the Friendship Trail can accomplish that."
The scheduled meeting between CN representatives and the trail proponents took place on Tuesday afternoon. This is the first time the two groups have met face to face.
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