I live in an idyllic West Coast village built on a sandbar that extends into Surrey’s Boundary Bay.
Before Norman Rockwell summer homes, Crescent Beach was the elite residence of the Semiahmoo First Nation. Our homes are built on top of centuries of discarded shells that were opened by native people and the eagles that still nest and feed along the shore.
Everyone in Metro Vancouver hates us. In addition to ocean views, we enjoy the best weather and our bay is full of Dungeness crabs. Regardless, most of the haters get over it on summer days, and thousands pack cars for picnics on the beach.
But there’s a fly in the chowder…
Over 100 years ago, a hater named James Hill decided it would be fun to build his railway along the winding edge of the ocean, instead of using a more direct inland route. In his defence, the shorter path required digging. The train was ingeniously designed to move goods and people over now-protected wetlands before the idea of environmental risk had been invented. A century later, the same track now moves U.S. Bakken oil and coal out of Canadian ports, since Washington and Oregon refuse to handle these materials.
Luckily, this situation can be easily improved. The Fraser Institute tells us pipelines move oil 4½ times more safely than rail.
A pipeline could share the same rail trestles that span 10 kilometres of wetlands identified as vital for bird migration. An oil pipeline along the edge of the bay would be a significant improvement to the safety of residents, tourists and the environment. It would also add several good-paying union jobs to our local economy, which has become worrisomely reliant on knowledge workers and tourism.
We ask our federal and provincial leaders to initiate a study that will solidify the clear and obvious benefits of a Boundary Bay pipeline project.
Erik Seiz, Surrey
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Some thoughts on pipelines and tankers.
A lot has been said about the proposed increase in tanker traffic as a result of the twinning of the Kinder Morgan pipeline to approximately 50 tankers per month. The port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands in 2015 had 8,200 tankers go through port, ranging from super tankers to barges all carrying crude oil and/or fuel product, there were no spills that year or previous years.
About the protesters, it seems a bit odd that there are protests about crude oil leaving Canada – but not a peep about it coming into Canada. Currently, we import 634,000 barrels of oil per day, all to the East Coast.
Canada has only one customer for its crude oil – the U.S. As a result, they are getting it at a discount, their gain our loss, so obviously it would be in the interest of the U.S. to have it remain that way. Surely they could not be involved in preventing Canada from getting other customers?
As far as First Nations are concerned, they want more consultation. Fact is, after you consult till the cows come and the final decision is not to your liking, one usually feels there has not been enough consultation. However, two-thirds of First Nations along the Kinder Morgan pipeline route have signed on and are OK with it, and are receiving financial compensation.
Barney Feenstra, Surrey