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Photographer accepts fine for trespassing onto CN Rail property

"Sometimes it's a mistake to do what your heart feels is right for the community but take a moment to think it out before you proceed," says Chuck Chin

Chuck Chin has taken his lumps.

The noted local photographer and a 2019 Prince George Community Foundation Citizen of the Year had a run-in with CN Rail Police this past May while trying to capture an image of the company's iconic bridge across the Fraser River. 

He went a little too far in his quest and was issued a ticket for under the Rail Safety Act - specifically section 26.1 (Enter on land on which a line work is situated).

On Tuesday, he appeared for a hearing at the Prince George courthouse and, according to a posting on his Facebook page, was issued the "lowest fine possible."

"I want to thank the community for all your support over the last months (yes, as a friend told me that it could take this long before the case comes to court)," Chin said.

Violating that section of the Railway Safety Act carries a $500 fine. The penalty used to be a mere $100 but in June 2021 it was increased to the current amount while the fine for not giving way at railway crossings was increased from $150 to $750.

"Increased incidents of trespassing and interfering with the safe operation of the railway system provide sufficient evidence that the original amounts of the fines were not significant enough to deter these dangerous actions. This is a major cause for concern, given the safety risks," Transport Canada said in a statement issued at the time.

"Large moving trains confronted with unexpected obstacles on a rail line cannot stop instantly and this presents an extreme hazard to the life of those inside and outside a moving train."

Chin concluded his post by saying he has learned his lesson.

"Lastly, sometimes it's a mistake to do what your heart feels is right for the community but take a moment to think it out before you proceed. Can you say 'no trespassing'? Closing in on 72 and there's still life lessons." Chin said.

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