Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts

White Rock train tracks to remain for ‘foreseeable future’: Martin

Surrey councillor says White Rock mayor - not Surrey mayor - brought up the idea of rail realignment.

Supporters of moving the BNSF tracks from White Rock and South Surrey’s waterfront should not expect it to happen any time soon.

That’s the message from both Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts and Coun. Mary Martin – while White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin acknowledges there is no specific proposal before either the federal or provincial government.

In an emailed response to a letter from Morgan Creek resident Anthony Rose (who also addressed concerns about the effects of a realignment on his neighbourhood in a letter to Peace Arch News published Dec. 5), Martin said realignment “will not happen in the near future, nor in the foreseeable future.

“Mayor Watts’ only concerns are for the safety of the rail shipments, in particular the crossing at Crescent Beach. It was Mayor Baldwin who brought up the idea of the realignment.”

Both mayors told PAN last month that Watts approached Baldwin in August to discuss the matter.

Watts spoke at a Nov. 26 City of Surrey community forum, where she presented four options for relocating the BNSF route in other areas of her city, however Monday she said the forum was “about beginning the conversation.”

Moving the line, Watts said, “would be a lengthy process, without a doubt.”

While information on realignment is being gathered in an overall study of rail-safety issues, the primary focus is ensuring the current route is safe, she said.

“The realignment conversation is secondary to the conversation around safety issues,” Watts said.

“What we want to be dealing with is safety issues around the (current) alignment – the stabilization of the slopes, the length of trains, the access to Crescent Beach and the condition of the trestle bridges.”

Told of Watts’ and Martin’s latest comments, Baldwin questioned why the City of Surrey would provide four choices for realignment if moving the tracks is not an option.

Baldwin told PAN there is no timeline at present to propose realignment to either provincial or federal authorities, although he expected some overtures would be made “early in the new year.”

“We’ll start with our local representatives and work our way up the chain,” he said.

Baldwin added that there is no favoured proposal for realigning the main BNSF cross-border route.

“The bottom line is it could even be one of the (BNSF) spur lines at Sumas or some other place – although perhaps there would be problems with load-bearing capacity,” he said.

Watts said City of Surrey committees are studying all aspects of rail safety – and other environmental issues the city will have to address, including a potential rise in the sea level that could impact the Nicomekl and Serpentine river systems.

“This is about getting information, looking at issues and engaging the public,” she added. “There are a few issues that we’ve been talking about for decades.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

White Rock highrise on hold after workers exhibit ‘severe’ overexposure symptoms

WorkSafeBC issued stop-work order at 1588 Johnston Rd. site on July 24

White Rock’s top cop calls for ‘healthcare led intervention model’

Review aims for better understanding of crime related to mental health, substance use

Surrey man found guilty in West Kelowna killing of common-law spouse

Tejwant Danjou was convicted of second-degree murder in the July 2018 death of Rama Gauravarapu in West Kelowna

New collective debuts with Crescent Beach show

Nela Hallwas and Lyn Verra-Lay team for ‘Flow’

‘Lifting Hands’ mural on White Rock wall celebrates community’s COVID efforts

High school students, grads inviting health-care workers, emergency crews to add handprints

STANDING TALL: Forestry workers meet the challenges, remain hopeful

A look at the forest sector in B.C. – and those hoping for the best – amid mill curtailments

Man suffers serious injuries in bear attack in remote area near Lillooet

It was deemed a defensive attack, no efforts were made to locate the animal

Parkinson SuperWalk goes virtual throughout B.C. due to COVID-19

People encouraged to walk around their neighbourhood, along community trails, through parks, forests

Missed rent payments ‘cause of COVID-19? You have until July 2021 to pay up

Each monthly instalment must be paid on the same date the rent is due

U.S.-Canada pandemic border restrictions extended into September

‘We will continue to keep our communities safe,’ says Public Safety Minister Bill Blair

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

WE Charity registers as lobbyist, lays off staff, looking to sell real estate

WE Charity said its financial position has been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic

Conservation seizes fawn illegally kept captive in Vancouver Island home

A Comox Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Most Read