MP Dianne Watts – as Surrey mayor in 2013 – presents four rail-route options through other parts of South Surrey.

MP Dianne Watts – as Surrey mayor in 2013 – presents four rail-route options through other parts of South Surrey.

LETTERS: Two sides laud federal reaction

Editor:

Re: Rail safety – not relocation – on agenda, Feb. 24.

Editor:

Re: Rail safety – not relocation – on agenda, Feb. 24.

What a wonderful headline in the Peace Arch News.

Rail safety to be studied in White Rock. And no relocation of tracks.

Now, if the safety department for trains will include bells, whistles and horn noise between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. – and for those noises to be severely restricted – life in White Rock will be much improved.

Mary MacDonald, White Rock

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Our mayor could learn from MP Dianne Watts.

Kudos to her for taking a more realistic approach to trains through White Rock.

While our mayor is working hard on his long-range plan of getting rid of the tracks – and one that he knows he will never accomplish – she took a much more realistic approach of doing something in the short-term.

After all, it all boils down to safety. If the tracks through White Rock can be made safer by removing hazardous goods from the route, that will satisfy the objectors to shipping hazardous goods through a dense community, and rightly so. And if the tracks are also made safer by installing warning bells and lights as Transport Canada mandates at all pedestrian crossings, then those objecting to the noise made by the incessant train whistles after 6 a.m. in the morning will breathe a sigh of relief.

Transport Canada maintains that once these are in place, whistling can stop altogether barring someone walking on the tracks.

So, I hope Watts can eliminate the dangerous goods coming through and introduce bells and lights at all pedestrian crossings. That way we will be both safe and get more sleep.

Besides, do we really want to remove the tracks? It offers a golden opportunity for a future transportation corridor for people movement. There will be a need once the increased population demands it.

Simon Bergen-Henengouwen, White Rock

(Editor’s note: Following our article – which quoted Watts saying “we are not discussing rail relocation at this time” – she sent a letter to the editor stating committee members will consider relocation options once issues are understood.)

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There seems to be an atmosphere of pessimism with regards to our community ever getting the railway line moved off our lovely beaches. This is understandable as publicity recently has left residents confused.

Please be patient, as our politicians have heard our very serious concerns and are working towards a solution.

Federal money is the critical component needed now – our local governments are on-side – and they are doing their very best to obtain it for us. Our Conservative MP Dianne Watts (South Surrey-White Rock) and Fleetwood Liberal MP Ken Hardie are on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee back in Ottawa. The rest of the committee members are all from back east, so they need to be made aware of the very many safety issues we have here on our beautiful beaches and this environmentally sensitive piece of precious coastline. The infrastructure funds are there to be used, and I think that conserving our pristine coastline for future generations is one of the most urgent situations that need addressing here in the west.

Thousands of people come from the surrounding municipalities to White Rock and Crescent beaches. We are happy to share with them these beaches, which are the safest between here and California. These visitors also invigorate our local businesses.

The preferred route will not impact built-up areas, which has concerned some residents. Burlington Northern Santa Fe has stated that they are not averse to negotiating the move; I have it in writing. It would enable them to speed up their trains and get their goods to market faster and also to relieve them of the stress of travelling through highly populated beach areas where drivers are worried about injuring people or encountering a landslide. Erosion of the coastline causes instability for the tracks and must be constantly monitored. The concerns of Crescent Beach are well known and we just pray that a train breakdown there does not cause a serious emergency.

The situation is looking very good for rail relocation, and we thank the many residents and politicians for all the hard work they are doing on our behalf.

Patricia Kealy, White Rock