Letters to the Editor

LETTERS: Silencing whistles not a solution

White Rock has been told to upgrade its pedestrian rail crossings, if it wants to retain its overnight ‘quiet zone.’  - Tracy Holmes file photo
White Rock has been told to upgrade its pedestrian rail crossings, if it wants to retain its overnight ‘quiet zone.’
— image credit: Tracy Holmes file photo

Editor:

Re: Silencing train whistles to cost $1.8m, Jan. 28.

As a White Rock resident of nearly 10 years, my heart sank when I read the proposal to silence our local trains – and at a staggering cost to local taxpayers.

Now I have to confess, I love everything about trains. My family settled in Bridgeview in the late ’40s, and the railway and its employees were a prominent part of our lives and included key members of my family. Pulling the train whistle was a coveted experience among the children in our family and close social circle.

As a teenager growing up in Fort Langley, two blocks from the train tracks, I fell asleep to the rhythmic chugging of the train’s wheels and the mournful wail of its whistle. The popular Village Antique Mall was originally built to house my family’s antique auction, the business partners Ken Passmore and Maurice Finnegan created a game to incorporate the train’s whistle and noisy passage into the evening’s activities. The roll-up door at the back of the auction hall was quickly closed and the current high bidder was given a chance to guess on the direction the train was travelling. Correct guesses won the bidder a $5-bill.

I love trains. But I understand that not everyone does.

What I don’t understand is why they move next to railway tracks and then complain about the noise and force local politicians to address the problem at huge economic and social cost to the rest of us. It’s right up there with the people who move into rural communities and then complain they don’t have a 24-hour drugstore or congestion-free super highway until the farmland all gets paved to accommodate them. There are places you can live that don’t have trains or farmland.

Like a number of local children, I would miss the romance of the train whistle and resent the cost being imposed on the rest of the community.

Donna Passmore, White Rock

• • •

Does the City of White Rock truly think that these changes as outlined in Peace Arch News will truly better the sounds of rail movement between the arbitrary hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.?

Even for the elite few of complainers near the BNSF, this will not end in a suitable solution. A 60-plus train of rail cars in our rather short city of less than two miles will keep each and every proposed crossing clanging and chiming for a lot longer than a whistle did in years past.

These proposed expenses will no doubt fall short of their objective and only result in higher property taxes.

Does our city truly believe that for the total of $2.5 million of our tax money, the current sounds of such rail movements will simply be muted, go away and be a thing of the past?

Ron Eves, White Rock

 

 

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