One man's efforts to get government response to railway ties – installed last spring – leaves him feeling breathless.

One man's efforts to get government response to railway ties – installed last spring – leaves him feeling breathless.

Keeping track of correspondence

Editor:
Further to my and other readers’ letters pertaining to creosote railway ties laid down by the BNSF, I wrote to the minister of environment pointing out that in other industrial nations, creosote-treated wood is banned, as the mixture of crude oil, coal tar, etc. is dangerous to people’s health.

Editor:

Re: Keep track of potential dangers, March 30 letters.

Further to my and other readers’ letters pertaining to creosote railway ties laid down by the BNSF, I wrote to the minister of environment pointing out that in other industrial nations, creosote-treated wood is banned, as the mixture of crude oil, coal tar, etc. is dangerous to people’s health.

The reply was that due to the volume of correspondence, I would receive a response in due course; meantime, visit the website to read about all the wonderful initiatives undertaken by the ministry.

I wrote back to say that this is a matter of importance, the stench is unbelievable and people can get sick if they inhale walking along the promenade.

No reply.

Some 10 calls and additional emails later, an email on April 18, signed by Minister Terry Lake, stating that the issue falls under the jurisdiction of the provincial ministry of transport, and that he has forwarded a copy to the minister for “his review and consideration.”

Another email to Lake informing him that in Canada, railways fall under federal, not provincial, jurisdiction. Copy to the premier, copy to the minister of transport, with a reminder that the fumes are cancer-causing.

More emails and calls to the premier’s office, minister of environment and transport. Then, on May 13, an email from an environmental management officer acknowledging that the B.C. minster of transport has no jurisdiction, that Transport Canada is responsible for all rail operations in Canada, etc. He also states that “the Environmental Management Act does not allow waste to be discharged as to cause pollution.”

All nothing new.

After some more correspondence pointing out that the question in my March 27 message was, “how can B.C. allow creosote-treated rail ties on the ‘The Best Place On Earth,’” the reply: Health Canada is responsible, please contact them.

I have some friends in Ottawa and within 48 hours, I received a list of eight currently registered wood preservatives which are considered pesticides and as a result require registration under the Pest Management Regulatory Agency.

Today, I set out to walk on the promenade but, due to the heat and an on-shore wind, the stench of the new ties made me turn around.

Wolfgang Schmitz, White Rock

 

 

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

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP Gang Enforcement Team street check. (File photo)
Surrey RCMP gang enforcement team seizes five vehicles

This was over 13 days, as SGET continues to target gang activity in this city

File photo
Surrey to borrow $150 million for three major recreation projects

That’s for a sports complex in the city centre, a sports and ice complex in Cloverdale and a community centre in Newton

A memorial remains near the site of where South Surrey mechanic Paul Prestbakmo was killed in August 2019. (Tracy Holmes photo)
Tim Baillie, the “Supreme Commander” of Toque Tuesday events in Surrey, at Surrey Civic Plaza in 2018. (File photo: Bala Yogesh)
Ball hockey scrubbed, Surrey’s ‘Toque Tuesday’ turns to drive-thru collection to help homeless

‘Clean out your closets and stop by from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.,’ urges the event’s ‘Supreme Commander’

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

Langley activist Dorscie Paterson celebrated her 108th birthday on Monday, Jan. 25 at the Cedar Hill long term care facility. Because of the pandemic, she remained inside, able to see, but not shake hands with visitors. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Celebrating a 108th birthday without physical contact

Pandemic required Langley woman to stay behind a window

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Five big lessons experts say Canada should learn from COVID-19:

‘What should be done to reduce the harms the next time a virus arises?’ Disease control experts answer

A Vancouver Police Department patch is seen on an officer’s uniform as she makes a phone call. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver man calls 911 to report his own stabbing, leading to arrest: police

Officers located the suspect a few blocks away. He was holding a bloody knife.

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

Vernon has agreed to a goose cull to control the over-populated invasive species making a muck of area parks and beaches. (Morning Star file photo)
Okanagan city pulls the trigger on goose cull

City asking neighbours to also help control over-population of geese

FILE – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks at a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine CEO ‘very, very clear’ that Canada’s contracts will be honoured: Trudeau

Trudeau says he spoke to Moderna CEO on the morning of Jan. 26

Ben Tyler was working on a Nicola area ranch when he disappeared. File photo
Ben Tyler was working on a Nicola area ranch when he disappeared. File photo
2 years after his riderless horse was found, police believe Merritt cowboy was killed

Two years after he went missing, Ben Tyner’s family makes video plea for information

Most Read