Politicians should get on board


Re: Impassioned pleas over coal, July 4 letters.

Residents call on elected representatives from various levels of government to support positions on train traffic.

Residents call on elected representatives from various levels of government to support positions on train traffic.


Last week, I finally saw what all the fuss is about.

I was down at the waterfront around 10 a.m. and watched a very long empty coal train go by. Next came a short passenger train. Next, another coal train, this one 122 cars in length, each one containing uncovered coal.

The time frame: one and a half hours.

I do hear the train whistle occasionally. The last time was two blasts from the whistle at 6 a.m. this morning.

So what this seems to be saying is that no matter what protests are put forth, they are falling on deaf ears. Port Metro Vancouver, along with the federal government, have their minds already made up. To hell with what the majority may feel, this is business and business is money!

Enter our MP Russ Hiebert (Community being heard over coal, July 2). As our representative for this area, now would be a good time for him to step up to the plate and speak on our behalf. Fifty jobs should not be part of the criteria for allowing this obscenity to become a reality.

It is folly to even consider more trains to become  such an integral part of such a high tourist area. Health, safety and the environment should be of paramount concern.

Fran Manary, Surrey

• • •

An open letter to Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg.

I am very concerned about the possibility of increased coal trains running through our neighbourhood. As our representative, I am curious to know what your position is on this situation, as well as the position of your party.

There seems to be a lot of coverage in the media about pipelines running through the wilderness in northern B.C., while we have companies trying to run 20+ coal trains a day through residential neighbourhoods, and I have yet to hear you or your leader raise any concerns.

I realize it is good politics to play the game around “big oil” but, let’s be honest, an oil spill – while having negative economic impacts – will have little to no long-term health repercussions for citizens of B.C. Coal trains through residential neighbourhoods, on the other hand, will impact people’s lives immediately and every day.

I attended a forum and was informed of the considerable health risks associated with this activity in return for limited economic benefits. I am very pro business and do not oppose activities that benefit the province as a whole, but it seems a little strange that we would allow the U.S. to transfer their issues to us.

These train tracks run past hundreds of homes as well as numerous schools. It seems to be a very shortsighted plan that is benefiting a few at the expense of many.

David Prodanovic, Surrey

• • •

The Quebec tragedy should raise serious concerns regarding train traffic through White Rock.

Some time ago, I wrote to the city, asking what goods went through White Rock besides the coal, and I was referred to Transport Canada. The standard response from the city is that they have no jurisdiction over length of trains, their noise levels and what they carry, and that everything is regulated by Transport Canada.

I could not believe the passive response from the city when its citizens are at potential risks. Statistics indicate there is a decent possibility of derailment in our area, especially if the frequency is increased.

I have a proposal for the city: Can we have our federal MP, our provincial MLA, our national Minister for Transport and our beloved mayor in the same room to discuss the concerns we have expressed often regarding the rail traffic through White Rock?

I was alarmed to read that BNSF acknowledged that some petroleum products are transported on their rail but they refused to give more details.

Aroon Shah, White Rock

Parental responsibility

Re: Impassioned pleas over coal, July 4 letters.

I am ambivalent about the increased coal-train travel. I live a mile from the tracks, enjoy the whistles from a distance and can’t say I feel the effect of coal dust. I have my share of allergies and feel for those who are affected.

However, for letter-writer Harvey Ostroff to argue that someone’s child is endangered, because they are chasing a ball onto the track, ignores the law of common sense.

It is your responsibility, as parents, to teach your children to stay off the train tracks. At all times. Period.

Katherine Booth, Surrey