LETTERS: Cacophony on the waterfront

Letter writers take on the flourish of late-night train horns along the waterfront in White Rock.


The new whistle-blowing regulation being followed by trains transiting the White Rock beach area is quite simply intolerable.

For an area previously designated a “quiet zone” under city bylaws, this volte-face is especially egregious.

I, for one, have no wish to live in a nanny state. And certainly not in one where the nursery is so noisy!

Efforts to keep us all from every harm, at the cost of depriving us of sleep, are too high a price to pay.

The placement of these rail tracks in the first place was, of course, a monumental planning error. Since the line looks to be operational into the foreseeable future, let us not compound the mistake further.

When BNSF was permitted to lay the tracks a century ago, “trespass” across the tracks to the beach was surely a foreseeable outcome. What was not foreseeable was the present volume of goods traffic, especially coal-carrying trains, nor the mushrooming population on the Semiahmoo Peninsula.

Further accommodation must now be achieved, not only by BNSF and Transport Canada, but also by the people who come to our beachfront. These people must surely appreciate that making close, personal contact with a train is a no-win situation. Social Darwinism awaits those for whom this is too difficult a concept.

Tough love perhaps, but the noisy alternative on offer is Kafkaesque.

Transport Canada must be made to understand this. By all means, put up signs, paint the road surfaces, install warning lights, etc. But for goodness sake, let us have the “quiet zone” restored to our seafront.

Gerard Ponsford, White Rock

• • •

I have lived on Victoria Avenue for over 10 years. People always ask me, “Don’t the trains bother you?” And I have always been able to answer that I don’t even hear them. Until now!

This morning (July 3) finally pushed me to write this letter. At 4:58 a.m., the train honked between 50 and 100 times. I didn’t start counting until I was fully awake and stopped counting at 50! Really?

I actually got up to see if there was something going on at the beach. No! Not one person around, and we get close to 100 honks before 5 a.m.

Another example of this ridiculous vendetta was on Sunday, June 22, when a train at 5:52 a.m. honked at least 100 times along the beach.

Other trains, even at times when people are actually out and about, honk strategically along the beach, probably covering their requirements in a more respectful way.

I know we live in a beautiful place and there are few people who would think we have anything to complain about. However, it is noise pollution and, as good neighbours, the U.S. company should find a more respectful way to comply with these ridiculous Transport Canada requirements until a better solution is found. Some engineers are able to do this. Why not all?

Gayle Greveling, White Rock



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