Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts

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.”

 

Just Posted

Jack and Arleen Mar celebrated their wedding 60 years ago. (Contributed photo)
White Rock couple celebrates 60 years of marriage

‘Listen to your wife,’ Jack Mar offered as advice to newlyweds

A cache of 89 crabs was discovered during a 2018 compliance inspection at South Surrey’s Elgin Park Marina. (Contributed photo)
$7,500 fine for illegal crab harvest discovered in South Surrey

Laird Goddyn found guilty in Surrey Provincial Court following 2018 investigation

Fraser Health held a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Gurdwara Dukh Nivaran Sahib in Surrey on Friday, May 7, 2021. Roughly 400 people pre-registered to get their vaccine the week before. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Fraser Health to host 32-hour ‘Vax-A-Thon’ in Surrey

It will start June 19 at 11 a.m. and run until June 20 at 7 p.m.

South Surrey’s Meridian Golf Course – a 15-acre property that also includes a residence – has been sold. (Colliers Canada photo)
South Surrey’s Meridian Golf Course sold to new owners

Deal for popular par 3 course expected to close by end of the year

Gerry Vowles (left), Michael Cook, and Dave Sinclair were awarded “Dominion Command Presidential Citations” June 17 in Cloverdale. The rare awards were given out for “exemplary service to the Legion.” (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Three B.C. legionnaires awarded ‘Presidential Citations’

Ceremony took place in Cloverdale June 17

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

An old growth cedar stands in a cut-block within the Caycuse Valley. More than 100 prominent Canadians, have signed an open letter calling for the immediate protection of all remaining old-growth forests in B.C. (Submitted)
Brian Mulroney and Greta Thunberg among 100 celebrities pushing to save B.C. old growth

List includes Indigenous leaders, scientists, authors, Oscar winners

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on Friday, February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
U.S. border restrictions to remain in place until at least July 21

Safety minister says Canada, U.S. extending restrictions on non-essential international travel

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Himalayan Life helped finance the construction of Nepal’s Yangri Academic Centre and dormitories after a 2015 earthquake devastated the valley, killing more than 9,000 people. (Screen grab/Peter Schaeublin)
B.C. charity founder pledges to rebuild Nepalese school swept away by flash floods

Six years after an earthquake killed more than 9,000 people, Nepal faces another catastrophy

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

Most Read