Elected officials’ support for moving the BNSF railway inland is more about safety than politics

Elected officials’ support for moving the BNSF railway inland is more about safety than politics

LETTERS: Relocation critic way off course

Editor:

Re: So-called ‘solutions’ won’t help, Sept. 18 letters; Hepner pledges to relocate trains, Sept. 18.

Editor:

Re: So-called ‘solutions’ won’t help, Sept. 18 letters.

Letter-writer A. Rose of Morgan Creek – presumably  from his million-dollar glass house – calls out Mayor Wayne Baldwin as one of the “elites” from White Rock.

Rose indicates that Baldwin is backing the train relocation solely for his own agenda of getting re-elected. Has Rose picked up the paper in his own backyard to see what platforms councillors and mayors looking to run in Surrey are choosing? It’s not just the mayor of White Rock concerned for public safety.

Rose also threw out more conjecture of “fiscal problems and scandals” in White Rock under Baldwin, I’m assuming because he is upset about possibly living near another train. I’ve known my dad a long time, and he’s a lot of things, including cheap at times and straight as an arrow. Fiscally irresponsible and scandalous, he’s not.

White Rock residents do pay more in taxes – Rose’s one point that had substance – however, I live in South Surrey and waited over three hours for police to show up to control intoxicated teens vandalizing a public park, while the majority of the police force cleans up the crime in Newton/Whalley. Citizens in White Rock don’t have to worry about that little dilemma, if paying more for safety, among other things, matters.

Ryan Baldwin, Surrey

• • •

Seashore safety is not just for “the elite.”

Letter-writer A. Rose’s analysis of the situation is basically this: White Rock Mayor Baldwin is making noise about railway relocation now for no other reason than to distract from other issues in preparation for election time. And, those White Rock elites knew the tracks were there when they moved in and now should just live with their decision. Oh, and by the way, don’t even think about moving the tracks out where I live.

May I suggest that Rose just doesn’t get it. To add some perspective to his observations, it should be noted that Baldwin has been talking about this for a long time and, in my opinion, representing his constituents.

As for the alleged ‘elite,’ while it may be difficult to elicit sympathy from the less fortunate, I’m sure many of them had no idea the rail traffic would expand as it has. Anyway, while some of the ‘elites’ may be disturbed by train noise, that is not the primary motivation for relocation. Let me try to explain a few of the factors again.

The railway also passes through the Semiahmoo First Nation reserve. And no, these ‘elites’ did not know the tracks would be there when they first set up camp.

The railway route effectively cuts off Crescent Beach so that in the event of a disaster, a stalled or derailed train could potentially prevent emergency-response vehicles from attending. Yes, yes, I know. These ‘elites’ should have checked that out before moving there.

Pedestrian safety is a great concern for the thousands who visit White Rock and Crescent Beach each year. I know, they should all learn to read and stay off the tracks. Why don’t we just close the area to tourists? Seriously, it is not good enough to say “use at your own risk,” when this hazard can be eliminated by moving the rails.

The railway passes under an unstable slope. With increased traffic comes an increased risk of catastrophic derailment. The railway passes alongside environmentally sensitive waters of Boundary Bay. The rail also crosses two rivers at their widest points where the bridges are most vulnerable and the potential for disaster is greatest.

Are you concerned about the cost of relocation? Try calculating the cost of a major cleanup in the bay.

The bottom line is that all concerns can be mitigated by relocating to a safer route where a derailment is less likely, where pedestrians are not constantly crossing the tracks, and any potential disaster can be more easily contained.

It must be obvious to any impartial observer that the current railway is in the worst of all possible locations. The only real question is how to move it in the most responsible manner.

J. Drent, Surrey

Timing critical

Re: Hepner pledges to relocate trains, Sept. 18.

It was good to be at the announcement in Crescent Beach from Surrey Coun. Linda Hepner last Tuesday regarding relocating the tracks in five years, similar to White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin’s days earlier.

Of course, with the election coming on, lots of announcements come out of the blue. BNSF is spending a heck of a lot of money redoing the Serpentine Bridge, so I don’t know how well they will like the idea of relocation, but I hope it will come.

SmartRail and Communities and Coal – along with other groups – have been advocating rail relocation for years, and the councillor who has attended the most meetings with these groups has been Coun. Barinder Rasode. Just keep that in mind, when the election comes: who was on the bandwagon first and was very interested to the point of speaking out, many months ago.

Brian Lauder, Surrey

 

 

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