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First publish date: 05-08-2006
CN Rail Offers $7.5M Compensation to Alberta Lakeside Residents
CN Rail is offering $7.5 million to compensate residents of lakeside property in northern Alberta that was affected when thousands of gallons of oil spilled from a train derailment last summer.

According to a release by CN Rail on Saturday, the compensation offer is being made to approximately 1,600 households on Lake Wabamun, and is $2.5 million higher than an offer the company made in March.

"CN believes this $7.5-million offer fulfills the the commitment we made to the residents shortly after the derailment," company spokesman and chief legal officer Sean Finn said in the release. "It represents fair and honourable compensation for all inconvenience experienced by residents as a result of the derailment and the subsequent cleanup and remediation," he added.

Doug Goss of the Lake Wabamun Residents Committee said the offer got a favorable reception from members during a meeting Saturday. "The offer today was by far the best offer that they've come up with to date," Goss said. "Of the 50-some people on the committee, only two voted against."

The Aug. 3 derailment spilled more than 300,000 gallons of fuel oil and pole-treating oil in and around the popular lake west of Edmonton.

CN Rail says owners of property nearest the spill site, as well as those whose properties were most contaminated will be eligible for the largest payouts of $15,000.

Property owners will have until June 30, 2006 to decide on whether or not to accept the offer.

An Alberta aboriginal band also filed a lawsuit earlier this year against CN, Ottawa and the Alberta government. The Paul Band says it relies heavily on fish, ducks and geese from the lake, which it says is still contaminated.

The CN news release said that resolution of that claim would be dealt with separately from the $7.5-million offer to the Lake Wabamun residents.


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