LETTERS: Coal train fixation misses bigger – more worrisome – picture


Being fixated on coal trains misses the bigger and more menacing picture that is currently impacting the people and environment of the Semiahmoo Peninsula.

It is now very common to have 20-plus trains a day through White Rock, most more than two kilometres long, requiring three or four diesel locomotives, all pushing out hazardous fine particulate matter.

Just as worrying, BNSF is transporting chlorine, ammonia and crude oil, any of which could easily kill many and degrade the environment if one of those train cars happens to derail.

Because these dangerous-goods trains travel below very unstable cliffs, which are susceptible to land slides, the derailment risk is higher than many realize.

Just this past April, a mudslide covered the track, which the BNSF spokesman said was a “freak slide as there hasn’t been heavy saturation that would typically lead to this type of land movement.’

All it takes is a slide like this coinciding with a passing train and we will truly have a disaster.

Before July 2013, people of Lac Megantic were told, like we are told here, that there was no reason to be concerned. It only took that one train on July 6 for 47 lives to be lost and a town to be devastated. For those of us who have been advocating for the relocation of the track to the shorter, faster route along the Highway 99 corridor, it is discouraging that all of our levels of government seem willing to wait until the inevitable disaster occurs. Even the small step of determining whether moving the track is feasible and how much it would cost seem out of reach.

It is crazy to me that people think it is OK to have a busy freight and passenger train line separating this densely populated urban area and our fabulous water/beach area. The “but the track was here first” mindset speaks of a different era and no longer applies.

For economic, environmental or just plain quality-of-life reasons, this track will be moved one day. Whether it is in five years or 50 years, I just wish we can start on that path before events force our hand.

Hannah Newman, White Rock

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

Just Posted

Surrey Police’s role in Barnston Island still needs ‘to be looked at’

Surrey RCMP polices unincorporated island a short ferry ride across Parson’s Channel

Surrey looking into reducing residential speed limits

Surrey city council on Feb. 24 approved five ‘key pillars’ of a Surrey Transportation Plan

Fate of five-district policing model in Surrey rests with new police board

Whalley/City Centre, Guildford/Fleetwood, Newton, Cloverdale, and South Surrey districts formed under McCallum’s watch in 1998

Notorious South Surrey fugitive captured in California to face murder trial in Canada

Brandon Nathan Teixeira submitted to extradition during court proceedings Thursday in Sacramento

‘We have to triage’: Surrey teachers stage ‘walk-in’ to support public education

Teachers raising awareness after more than one year at the bargaining table

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

B.C. mother, daughter return home after coronavirus quarantine in Asia

Jensine Morabito and her daughter were on Holland America’s Westerdam but did not catch the virus

Leap Year means we get an extra day in February, so how are you spending it?

People online have a number of suggestions and plans on how they will be spending Saturday

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Bald eagle hit by train in northern B.C. has a chance of survival

The raptor has been taken to OWL in the Lower Mainland for recovery

Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Rio Tinto sign a historic agreement

Co-operation crucial to stem dropping Nechako Reservoir level

Hundreds of B.C. firefighters ‘climb the wall’ for BC Lung Association

The charity fundraiser saw participants climbing up 48 storeys

Stories of sexual assault at B.C. tree planting camps ‘shocking but not surprising:’ advocate

Contractors’ association is working with trainers to create respectful culture

Most Read

l -->