LETTERS: BNSF focus sensational

Editor:

Re: Moving train tracks ‘could cost billions,’ April 20.

Editor:

Re: Moving train tracks ‘could cost billions,’ April 20.

I haven’t been so ticked off in a long time, but you have managed to do that to me with your headline.

This was a wild guess by BNSF and it is only when one turns to page 2 that we find the headline, Estimates ‘just guessing’. Unfortunately, the damage has already been done, as many readers of Peace Arch News are so busy they just skim the headlines.

This is biased, not neutral reporting. It is sensationalist reporting, which I find a blot on the reputation of an award-winning local newspaper. Opinions should be kept to the Editorial page.

Officials estimate the cost of track realignment at $350-450 million.

(Editor’s note: The first headline was attributed to BNSF, the second to MP Dianne Watts. The $350-450 million figure, noted in the article, was estimated by the cities in 2013.)

The ecological damage to the bay from a chlorine spill or acid spill could be worth way more than the cost of relocation. That is just the damage to the bay, not to mention the cost where human life is concerned – you can’t put a price on it. A major earthquake or a landslide from a water-soaked cliff could knock a train off its tracks.

There is millions of infrastructure money up for grabs, and we might be lucky enough to obtain some. Our Conservative MP Dianne Watts and Liberal MP Ken Hardie are both members of the parliamentary standing committee on transportation and are working very hard back east to help us with this major safety concern, and we don’t need a naysayer headline writer to skew their wonderful efforts.

What a relief it would be for the residents to have these beaches safe and more accessible again. The land the tracks are on is zoned parkland; a future walkway like Stanley Park would be amazing. The mayors and councils of White Rock and Surrey are unanimously behind relocation. It is not just our area that will benefit.

Peace Arch News, please rethink your headline writing and what good journalism is.

Patricia Kealy, White Rock

• • •

Unbelievable that my local paper has used such outrageous headlines about such a critical issue.

I listened to the April 18 podcast with MPs Ken Hardie and Dianne Watts hosted by the parliamentary transport committee. Your headline covered just a minute portion of an excellent presentation by our elected officials, and yet you chose to highlight a self-confessed costing guesswork by a BNSF spokesman.

When B.C. can pay $500 million for a retractable roof at BC Place, Montreal gets government assistance to put in the $1-billion Champlain Bridge and the Lac Megantic clean-up and lawsuits are expected to cost $1 billion or more, why would Peace Arch News trivialize the importance of rail relocation.

Shame on you!

At a time when the federal government is looking at cost sharing, and when we have two local, well-respected MPs on side, I sincerely think it is time for PAN to get behind this very critical safety issue of moving the dangerous goods off our waterfront and away from such a huge population.

Susan Potzold, White Rock

 

 

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