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Trudeau, Couillard officially announce Lac-Mégantic rail bypass

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As he officially announced a new railway bypass in front of the Lac-Mégantic train station Monday, Justin Trudeau's words were met with applause by a small group of residents.

"Today we are announcing the track will leave Lac-Mégantic's downtown for good," he said.

But the prime minister's tone was sombre.

"When politicians make these types of announcements, they usually do it with a smile," said Trudeau, "but today we would do anything to go back in time and change what happened."

Trudeau told the small group today's announcement is important for the whole country, which mourned the 47 lives lost on July 6, 2013.

"We're taking an important step to help heal the wounds of a community that's been through so much."

Project met with frustration

Ottawa and the province will share the cost of the $133-million project, with the federal government footing 60 per cent of the bill, Radio-Canada has previously confirmed.

Some in Lac-Mégantic have been demanding a rail bypass ever since a runaway fuel train barrelled into the centre of the town, derailed and exploded nearly five years ago.

Residents in Lac-Mégantic, Que., and neighbouring towns of Nantes and Frontenac would have preferred a route farther north. (CBC)

Last year, the BAPE, Quebec's environmental review board, held public consultations in the community to evaluate three proposed routes for the new track.

Residents of Lac-Mégantic and the neighbouring villages of Nantes and Frontenac found out earlier this week the new track to keep trains out of Lac-Mégantic's downtown has been approved.

But while news of the project has delighted the municipality of Lac-Mégantic, the announcement has been met with anger and frustration by residents like Emmanuelle Dumont.

Sandra Jacques and Denis Gabourie say the Lac-Mégantic bypass will cut their land in two, making part of their property inaccessible (Radio-Canada)

The bypass route is slated to be built just a stone’s throw from her Lac-Mégantic home. She has joined a group of neighbours who have put up signs in their yards in the hope that Trudeau and Premier Philippe Couillard will see them and note their opposition to the project.

Dumont and her neighbours plan to attend an information session at 4 p.m. that will be held by the city.

"We will make our voices heard," she said. "We want to be understood."

Sandra Jacques will see her property chopped in half by the new tracks.

From her patio, Jacques choked back tears, pointing across a vast expanse of greenery.

"My parents are elderly, and they live on the other side of this property," she said.

"They won't be able to just walk to my house anymore. It's ridiculous."

Safety still a concern

Several residents, including Dumont, have said they don't think moving the tracks will make the trains any safer.

"They will still carry hazardous material. We're just moving the problem to another area."

Residents opposed to the chosen route say they hope Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Philippe Couillard will see their signs and know not everyone agrees with the bypass. (Submitted by Emmanuelle Dumont)Raymond Lafontaine, who lost several family members in the 2013 Lac-Mégantic rail disaster, said even if the track is moved, trains will still be parked on a downward slope at Nantes.

That was one of the contributing factors to the tragedy.

The mayors of Frontenac and Nantes have publicly said they oppose the chosen route because it would cut through farmland and development projects in their municipalities.

Nantes Mayor Jacques Breton has accused the governments of using the rail bypass announcement for political gain —a claim Lac-Mégantic Mayor Julie Morin vehemently denies.

"The mayors of Frontenac, Nantes and I have been meeting nearly every week with different levels of government, and they've been able to ask questions," she said.

"The governments have to make decisions based on their budgets and deal with all kinds of challenges."

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Alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur to make court appearance in Toronto

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TORONTO – A man accused of killing men associated with Toronto’s gay village appeared briefly in court today.

Bruce McArthur was remanded in custody until June 22 for what is expected to be another short appearance.


READ MORE:
Toronto police to start searching more properties linked to Bruce McArthur this week

Dressed in an orange jumpsuit, McArthur said little during the short appearance via video link.

Story continues below

He looked downcast while his lawyer and Crown set the new date.


READ MORE:
Case of alleged Toronto serial killer Bruce McArthur put over to May 23

The 66-year-old self-employed landscaper was arrested in January and charged with the murders of Andrew Kinsman and Selim Esen, who went missing from Toronto’s gay village in 2017.

Later that month, he was charged with the first-degree murder of Majeed Kayhan, Soroush Mahmudi, and Dean Lisowick. In February, he was also charged in the death of Skandaraj Navaratnam.


READ MORE:
Toronto police end search of alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur’s apartment

In April police charged Mcarthur in the death of Abdulbasir Faizi, who was reported missing in 2010, and days later charged McArthur in the death of Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, who came to Canada from Sri Lanka and was not reported missing.

Police have so far recovered the remains of seven men from large planters at a Toronto home where McArthur worked and stored his equipment.

Police say cadaver dogs — including some from York Region police — are sniffing out about 100 properties both inside and outside Toronto, all with ties to McArthur.

VIDEO: New details about latest victim of alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur






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Alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur set to appear in court Wednesday

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Alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur is expected to make a court appearance by video on Wednesday morning.

The 66-year-old landscaper is facing eight counts of first-degree murder in connection with the disappearances of a number of men, most of whom had ties to Toronto’s gay village.

McArthur was arrested and charged in January with first-degree murder in the deaths of Selim Esen, and Andrew Kinsman, both of whom went missing in 2017.

Last week, police finished an intensive search of McArthur’s Thorncliffe apartment, where they seized 1,800 exhibits and took more than 18,000 photographs. Police have found the dismembered remains of at least seven people in large planters at the home of one of McArthur’s clients.

Toronto police said earlier this month that the investigation has entered the next phase, with the use of cadaver dogs to search properties linked to McArthur.

McArthur last appeared in court on April 25.

with files from Star staff and The Canadian Press

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Alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur to make Toronto court appearance

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Bruce McArthur, the alleged serial killer charged with eight counts of first-degree murder, is set to make a court appearance by video link in Toronto on Wednesday morning.

Toronto police have said they don't plan to lay any new charges.

McArthur, a 66-year-old self-employed landscaper, has been charged with eight counts of first-degree murder in connection with the disappearances of a number of men, many of whom were connected to Toronto's Gay Village.

He's accused of killing the following men: Skandaraj Navaratnam, 40, Andrew Kinsman, 49, Selim Esen, 44, and Abdulbasir Faizi, 44, Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, 37, Dean Lisowick, 47, Soroush Mahmudi, 50, and Majeed Kayhan, 58.

McArthur is accused of killing these eight men. Top row, from left to right, Skandaraj Navaratnam, 40, Andrew Kinsman, 49, Selim Esen, 44, and Abdulbasir Faizi, 44. Bottom row, from left to right: Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, 37, Dean Lisowick, 47, Soroush Mahmudi, 50, and Majeed Kayhan, 58. (CBC/Toronto Police Service)

Police just finished a months-long, inch-by-inch search of McArthur's apartment, which they said netted more than 1,800 pieces of evidence.

Police still searching

Meanwhile, cadaver dogs are searching dozens of properties across the city where McArthur worked.

Police also plan to do more digging at a home on Mallory Crescent, near Toronto's Don Valley, where the dismembered remains of several men were found hidden in large garden planters.

Investigators said they have identified the remains of seven men, but not Kayhan's.

Det. Sgt. Hank Idsinga, who is leading the investigation, has said police don't know how long the probe will continue.

McArthur, who was arrested on Jan. 18, remains in custody at the Toronto South Detention Centre in Etobicoke, in suburban Toronto.

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