Several perceived effects of rail transport to public health and safety are addressed by writers of letters to the editor.

Several perceived effects of rail transport to public health and safety are addressed by writers of letters to the editor.

LETTERS: Assessing the real rail dangers

Editor:

Re: All coal concerns addressed, Aug. 26.; Train cargo…, Aug. 21; Safety should come first, Aug. 21; More coal…, Aug. 28.

Editor:

Re: All coal concerns addressed, Aug. 26.

Where are the regulatory bodies in Canada that consider the public interest?

The statement from Port Metro declaring all concerns about the Fraser Surrey Docks thermal-coal project to have been addressed is just words on a page. It is not supported by Port Metro’s actions and obvious priorities:

• Port Metro was created by the federal government in 2008 by the amalgamation of three smaller port authorities. The resulting ‘efficiency’ has meant a loss of local representation and a loss of good working relationships with municipalities near the ports.

• Port Metro has maintained an exceptionally close relationship with Fraser Surrey Docks and other coal-industry players. It sponsored the Coal Association of Canada’s 2013 conference, but attempted to keep this secret because of fears about public backlash. Apparently, the problem was not its own conflict of interest but the fact the public might become aware of it.

• Port Metro allowed Fraser Surrey Docks to hold open houses rather than public hearings about the project, despite the fact that such open houses tend to serve as promotion opportunities for industry rather than as opportunities for public input.

• Port Metro did not question the adequacy of the environmental impact assessment hastily done for Fraser Surrey Docks by SNC Lavalin, a company that has been exposed for corrupt practices internationally. Port Metro paid little attention to the flaws in the EIA pointed out by medical officers and environmental experts.

Because of Port Metro’s decision, we can now expect the number of coal cars passing through White Rock and South Surrey to double over the next few years. Transport Canada will put even more emphasis on the protection of the trains so that they can pass more freely through this community.

Transport Canada is another one of those regulatory bodies that doesn’t regulate – note the abysmal report card drawn up for it by transportation consultant Mary Jane Bennett (Mayor warns of federal indifference to rail fears, July 10).

Not surprisingly, Port Metro reports to Transport Canada.

David Anson, White Rock

• • •

Re: Train cargo a bigger concern, Aug. 21 letters.

Letter-writer Larry Colero is correct about the dangers of derailment of hazardous chemicals on White Rock’s and South Surrey’s waterfront. A chemical spill or derailment of even one rail car risks the lives of hundreds of people living nearby, and especially those unfortunate enough to have been in the cars’ path while it derailed.

To get an idea of what toxic chemicals pass through our waterfront, next time a cargo train rolls by, read what inscriptions say on just some of the cars’ train. Some trains carry ethanol, certain types of acids, etc.

I also believe people have lost sight of the real dangerous chemicals passing through our waterfront every day, and instead, have grown disproportionately concerned about coal, particularly U.S. coal.

Most of the toxic chemicals passing through our waterfront are far more harmful than coal.

Tony Roy, White Rock

• • •

Re: Safety should come first, Aug. 21 column.

Local residents need not fear an accident of the Lac Mégantic scale in BNSF territory, with trains being operated to first-class standards.

However, despite the 18 ‘findings’ of the Transport Safety Board investigation into the Lac Mégantic derailment, the board missed the key weakness of the braking system on trains in North America – the lack of fail-safe capability. It would seem elementary that if all else fails, then brakes should be applied automatically, but slow leakage of the compressed-air system allowed the Lac Mégantic train to run away. This is an inherent failing and is compounded by the need for ‘parked’ trains to have brakes on individual cars applied by hand.

Despite all safety advances for other modes of transport, trains are still being operated using 19th century technology. An unfortunate combination of circumstances conspired to cause the Lac Mégantic disaster; the potential for runaway trains remains.

John Bliss, White Rock

• • •

Re: More coal adds to our problems, Aug. 28 letters.

Simon Clews’ letter to the editor makes me wonder just how many affected by such nightly dose of invasive train-horn sounds might have gone on to develop some medical conditions leading to premature death.

Fen Kong Liew, Surrey

 

 

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

Just Posted

Earl Marriott Secondary alumna Tanis Orsetti has received a $15,000 Cmolik Graduate Studies Scholarship to further her studies in the field of medicine. (File/Contributed photo)
Earl Marriott alumna selected for new $15G scholarship

Tanis Orsetti is studying the use immunotherapy in cancer treatment

Eternity Medical Equipment’s ECAN95 masks have received Health Canada approval and CSA certification. (Eternity Medical Equipment photo)
South Surrey N-95 equivalent manufacturer launches mask recycling program

Eternity Medical Equipment partners with Ontario-based LifeCycle Revive

Surrey Fire Service at a garage fire in the 14400-block of 82A Ave on March 22, 2021. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
‘Perfect storm’ of variants, increasing COVID cases are concerning for Surrey fire chief

Between police and fire, Larry Thomas said there are 8 confirmed cases, 18 others isolating

Emergency crews on scene after a small plane crashed in a grassy area on the northeast side of Boundary Bay Airport Saturday morning (April 10). A freelancer said the plane caught fire and one person was transported to hospital by BC Emergency Health Services. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Small plane crashes at Delta’s Boundary Bay Airport

Plane appears to have suffered ‘significant’ damage, says freelancer

People take part in an anti-curfew protest in Montreal on Sunday April 11, 2021. Hundreds of people gathered in Old Montreal tonight in defiance of a new 8 p.m. curfew. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Giuseppe Valiante
VIDEO: Hundreds defy Montreal’s 8 p.m. curfew in violent, destructive protest

Quebec reported 1,535 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, as well as five additional deaths linked to the virus

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

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

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

Most Read