REGINA -- Regina city council will be taking a step forward with Ring Road rail relocation talks in August.

Over the past few years, residents have heard the city discuss what it could mean to relocate the rail tracks that cross Ring Road.

Mayor Sandra Masters said council will discuss hiring a design consultant.

“It’s not just talk anymore. There is a real kind of focused outcome that we are looking for,” Masters said.

“Not just about the rail in the Ring Road, but how to we position our city for that rail access to give us a better competitive advantage over other cities in terms of locating and needing that rail transport in and out of frankly a commodity based province.”

In 2019, council approved hiring a consultant to look into preliminary discussions about the relocation of the rail tracks.

Next month council will look at a report on hiring a preliminary design consultant, which is set to cost about $2 million.

Masters said the goal is to take the rail line off of Ring Road and branch into the north part of the city, preferably away from residential areas.

This discussion has been pushed to the forefront after Viterra announced it’s building a canola crush plant just north of the city.

“We have some other economic opportunities that may come to pass as well which means that having the rail relocated would ease the amount of train traffic, not just on Ring Road, but also perhaps in the city and really play to our strength of being a transportation corridor with both CP and CN Rail,” Masters added.

The mayor said both rail companies have spoken to her about their interest in moving the rail tracks as well.

“They’re already talking to the consultant we had in the previous phase and so all parties are at the table and in fact will be looking towards the provincial and federal governments as well in terms of the bigger picture initiative about how when this goes ahead, how do we all work collaboratively on a tri-party basis,” Masters said.

She hopes council will approve the preliminary design consultant so that the rail relocation work could run in tandem with the construction of the canola crushing plant.

Right in the middle of the potential project is the Co-op Refinery Complex.

It said over the years it has built around the rail track, but relocating them could open opportunities for the plant.

“It will allow us an opportunity to really take a look at that railway infrastructure and hopefully will allow us to create some efficiencies,” Brad DeLorey, director of communications and public affairs for the Co-op Refinery, said.

DeLory added that the refinery has been consulted on this and looks forward to more discussions going forward. 

Council will discuss this report on August 11.