Letter writers appear to be divided on the future

LETTERS: Be careful what they wish for

Letter writers appear to be divided on the future, after 100 years of train tracks along the Peninsula waterfront.


Unchecked, the thinly veiled hand wringing and schadenfreude – at those perceived to be “elite” – will kill the entire South of Fraser region.

Real estate value and quality of life are not zero-sum games. If White Rock trips, Cloverdale falls. And so does Langley, Newton and Delta.

Money has legs. It will walk away from an inaccessible foreshore that runs 24/7 freight, blowing horns day and night. The restaurants, shops, and culture of White Rock will fail. Investment into a largely retirement- and lifestyle-based economy will drop.

Toronto ruined Parkdale by cutting it off from the lake with the Queen Elizabeth Way. No one dreamed that owners would leave grand Victorian homes, and waterfront bargains quickly became rooming houses. The cancer grew across the region, and created areas like Rexdale, where Mayor Rob Ford famously bought crack. Mississauga and Brampton evolved with no single redeeming reason for anyone to ever visit them.

The destruction of White Rock eliminates any chance for the South of Fraser region to become a relevant and complementary part of Vancouver. Everyone who stays will be forever loading kids and visitors into cars, driving them into the big city, to walk the Stanley Park seawall or to eat at a charming, non-chain restaurant.

In contrast, the bay region of San Francisco respected their foreshore, and the towns of Cupertino and Palo Alto grew to create Silicon Valley.

Be careful what you wish for, if your only goal is to hurt others. It’s a big backyard.

Erik Seiz, Surrey

• • •

Coal is not a dirty word.

People fail to understand its importance.

Its history is this. Coal was used to provide fuel for blast furnaces to make steel from iron ore and to provide fuel for steam locomotives to move trains on steel rails to build North America, especially west of the Rocky Mountains. Without those trains, where Vancouver is today would be a colony with people eating gruel from wooden bowls with wooden spoons and the White Rock area would be a forest.

The town council should be careful what they wish for (Trains can be gone in 5 years: Baldwin, Sept. 11; Hepner pledges to relocate trains, Sept. 18).

Trains are a great attraction for the waterfront. When trains pass through, people stop what they were doing to watch. Where else can one see these big, colourful diesel electric units at 15 m.p.h. pulling 80 cars of one of the most important natural resources anywhere on the planet.

Try to picture White Rock without trains that make the waterfront unique. Of course, without those tracks, the parking lots could be extended to the water’s edge with a large green space for the environmentalists to roll in the daisies and smoke pot.

When trains are rerouted through Sumas, the tracks through White Rock will be gone forever because the rail road will not maintain two routes to the same destination, so the time has come when it’s too late to choose what trains will run on those tracks.

There are plenty of examples where getting rid of a hundred years of history has left the planners asking themselves where did we go wrong.

Howard Rogers, Surrey

Solutions in short supply

I’ve been reading the letters about moving the rail line from White Rock, but not one letter writer has offered up a solution.

Having worked for CP Rail for 35 years, I have built my share of tracks.

There are numerous problems to consider. First, the border crossing. Do we ruin the park on the west side?

Second, we have to decide to follow Highway 99 on the west side, or cross over and go up the east side. Both routes are going to impact residences and businesses along the route.

Now comes the biggest obstacle – the hill. Railways, unlike cars, can’t go straight up and down, so now they have to angle up and over and angle down, reducing the grade. More land expropriated, more homes and businesses moved.  I guess they could tunnel through the hill; imagine what that would cost.

The solution offered by letter-writer Gary Cameron (Rail-moving arguments, Sept. 30) makes the most sense. Slow the trains down, stay off the tracks and use common sense.

Don Gustafson, Surrey



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