LETTERS: Border effort a drop in the bucket

Editor: Re: Diplomacy quite clear on shared shoreline, March 23.


Re: Diplomacy quite clear on shared shoreline, March 23.

Your front-page story showing American and Canadian consulates walking on the BNSF tracks after picking up garbage along the shores of Peace Arch Park missed out on the big story.

While these well-intentioned environmentalists cleaned up 30 kg of debris, it is a mere drop in the bucket compared to the tonnes of waste recently dumped onto the Semiahmoo shoreline by the BNSF Railway.

This winter, during heavy rains, there were multiple mudslides from the Ocean Park bluffs across the Peninsula onto the tracks that were then excavated by the railway, with this debris, including soil, mud, boulders and full-sized trees, dumped onto the beach. This was done against an order issued years ago by Transport Canada for the BNSF to clean up their act and stop putting slide debris onto the foreshore where it buries and damages sensitive marine habitat.

Just south of Crescent Beach in an area that is within the marine park, the BNSF recently buried a length of beach 25 m long by five metres wide an average of 1.5 m deep. This one slide alone is equivalent to 12 dump-truck loads of fill, and there were six or seven slides reported onto the tracks this year to date. Further down the tracks, two other slides dumped onto the beach in the past year cover an additional 35 m of waterfront.

It is time that the BNSF are held accountable for their continued dumping of crud from their corridor onto our beautiful beach.

This has been reported to the Oceans Canada, the B.C. government, Crime Stoppers, MP Gordie Hogg, MLA Tracy Redies, the City of Surrey and BNSF.

In the past, the BNSF have gotten away without having to clean up their landslide dump mess, with the waves eventually washing it away.

It is time to force the railway to remove the tonnes of muddy debris now burying the beach and take proper steps to use rail cars to take away excavated debris for proper disposal.

Don Pitcairn, Surrey

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