Open letters to MP Russ Hiebert.
Last week I attended an information meeting regarding the potential dangers the increase of coal trains will bring to this area.
I write to you because of your professed love of family. Also, I learned only the federal government has the power to stop this potentially disastrous increase in rail traffic.
Imagine one of your children chasing a ball onto the tracks near White Rock as a train two kilometers in length approaches. Trains of that length carrying such heavy cargo require a mile to slow down and stop.
Imagine an elderly aunt or friend from Crescent Beach suffering from a heart attack and failing to survive because the ambulance had to wait for that same lengthy train to pass the crossing.
Imagine other members of our community, especially elders and children, developing asthma, emphysema or even lung cancer because of the increase of coal dust in the atmosphere. Imagine living by the tracks with the whistle blowing incessantly causing sleepless nights and further difficulties brought on by lack of rest.
Will you blame yourself when these kinds of inevitabilities occur? You must convince your colleagues to stop this travesty, which will bring few jobs and many hardships to your constituency.
Harvey Ostroff, Surrey
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I am a mother of two young girls, a business owner and a resident of Ocean Park.
My heart is broken to know what we are about to do to our environment, to our health and to our community, if we allow the increase of coal trains to travel to Fraser Surrey Docks.
We moved to Ocean Park because of the serene, wholesome environment surrounded by trees and ocean. We thought is was an ideal place to raise our children.
The increase in coal trains will dramatically alter this idyllic community. Air pollution from the trains would be comparable to living next to a busy freeway. Diesel pollution has been linked to many cancers and lung diseases. Noise pollution from the whistles and squealing brakes will be disruptive, particularly to my children’s sleep. Constant disrupted sleep has been linked to attention deficient disorders and irregular heartbeats.
The coal dust that will come off the trains as it runs by my house and school will cause lung diseases.
The saddest part is it will affect the children the most. As well, with increased traffic, there will most certainly be more people, including children, hit by trains.
We love going to White Rock beach on a warm sunny day, this risk of exposure to the pollutants, noise and accidents will keep us away.
We can not forget that our hands are not clean once we ship the coal to China. The burning of coal will dramatically affect climate change. How can we say that we are a “green” sustainable province when we encourage the use of burning such dirty coal?
Please, I am begging you, say something, stand up and stop these trains. I am prepared to stand on the tracks day and night to stop the trains, in order to protect my community and my children.
Raeghan Siemens, Surrey