Workers comb through debris after a train derailed in Lac-Megantic, Que., on July 9, 2013. (The Canadian Press/Paul Chiasson)
Residents of Lac-Megantic, Quebec have voted overwhelmingly against a rail bypass project that would divert trains around the town. The referendum held on Sunday showed 92.5 percent of eligible residents opposed the project. The derailment of an unattended freight train carrying crude oil in July 2013, which killed 47 people, prompted the governments of Canada and Quebec to promise to fund the bypass.
However, the plan has been met with pushback from citizens of neighbouring towns such as Frontenac, where some would have their land cut in two by the proposed bypass route. Last week, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announced he would be expropriating land after the failure of negotiations to purchase the needed properties. Despite the referendum results, Alghabra remains fully committed to the bypass.