Baird, City looking forward to working with new Via Rail CEO

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is welcoming the appointment of Via Rail's new president and CEO.

Baird, who earlier this month called for the resignation of Via's interim president in light of the rash of signal problems at six level crossings in Barrhaven, said he'd already met with the new top boss Yves Desjardins-Siciliano.

"I highlighted two strong concerns that people in Nepean have," he said. "One: people want rail safety. They want to see it in action and they want technical problems dealt with. Number two: they want an open and transparent process with the public and with the media when there are problems... It's the expectation that the new CEO will make this a priority.

He said it is time to put the signal issue to bed.

"We can put a man on the moon, I'm sure we can figure out a rail crossing working appropriately in 2014 and that's the expectation we have from the management of Via Rail," said Baird.

The City of Ottawa is also looking forward to a resolution in the matter.

Barrhaven Councillor Jan Harder told CFRA they were looking forward to better communication from Via Rail.

"There is a lot more work to do on communication for sure and I'm going to be looking for that improvement, certainly, because the better informed we all are, the better we are able to deal with any incidents," said Harder. "I can tell you that it has been pleasant - fingers crossed - to not have the rash of them that we were day after day, after day."

Via Rail is set to share the results of an independent report on the issue with city councillors on Thursday.

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