Questions linger over efforts to relocate the waterfront BNSF train tracks from South Surrey and White Rock.

LETTERS: Skepticism over rail relocation

Editor:

Re: Moving tracks ‘does little for Surrey’, Oct. 23.

Editor:

Re: Moving tracks ‘does little for Surrey’, Oct. 23.

I can’t help wondering if any of the three proponents of spending considerable taxpayer money to study moving the train tracks have asked the owner of the property what they would then do with the property.

My guess is they haven’t – even after White Rock taxpayers already ponied up $20,000.

But let’s use a hypothetical scenario for a moment. OK, the tracks are gone and someone paid roughly $300 million to make that happen. Now what? What will the owner of the property do with the land?

White Rock doesn’t own the land or the beach. Neither does Surrey. The land is owned by Burlington Northern Railway, and BNSF is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, which in turn is owned by Warren Buffet, who also owns Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.

And somehow I don’t think that the three folks mentioned in the PAN article have Buffet on speed dial.

So again, I ask, after the tracks, what? Seriously, if you owned miles of prime waterfront property and a real-estate development company, what would you do with it?

Barry Gaudin, White Rock

• • •

An open letter to MP-elect Dianne Watts, Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner and White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin:

I read with interest Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner’s view that the study regarding the relocation of the railway would benefit White Rock more than Surrey.

It would seem that White Rock is the primary supporter of this idea, together with some folks who live in South Surrey, in particular Crescent Beach. We are told the study would likely cost $700,000 and if accepted would lead to another $400 million if implemented.

White Rock’s track record of studies is pretty bad. Remember the money spent studying whether to contract out firefighting to Surrey? The study was put in File 13. As was the report produced by a California company asked to come up with a corporate jingle – eventually resolved with a competition sporting a $50 prize. So why should we think this little escapade will end differently?

The reasons cited for relocating the railway track are safety and the environment.

Just because the railway takes another route does not mean that the environmental issue vanishes. What about having to cross the Little Campbell River, the Nicomekl and the Serpentine, not to mention other possible hazards such as Burns Bog, or don’t they count?  In other words, it would be swapping one environmental issue for another.

Safety breaks down into two issues: people walking on the tracks and Crescent Beach residents possibly being trapped, without emergency-vehicle access.

So why not extend the pedestrian walkway from White Rock to connect to Crescent Beach? Make it wide enough for cyclists, as well as emergency vehicles if required. Not only would the residents of Crescent Beach no longer be “trapped,” it would enhance the area and eliminate the perceived need to walk on the tracks.

Finally, does anyone really think this could be done for $400 million? Just look at the demolition of Vancouver’s viaducts – already doubled to over $200 million.

Let’s face it, the train has been there for over a 100 years and the people who complain about it are probably the same folks who go and live next to an airport and then complain about the planes.

Ken Harrap, Surrey

 

 

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