The sounds of our community – including trains

Readers sound off on noise issues

Editor:

Re: Music to some, noise to others, Aug. 30 letters; Sound observations from the booming ’burbs, Sept. 1.

Editor:

Re: Music to some, noise to others, Aug. 30 letters.

I appreciate letter-writer Robert Ramsay’s point of view concerning the trains in White Rock.

I’m sure all the citizens of this community – along with parts of Ocean Park and Crescent Beach – love hearing “steel wheels on steel rails.” Ramsay also enjoys hearing the melodic train whistle “all times of the day.”

Well, with all the above I can’t argue. But there is a sign on White Rock’s East Beach that states: “The train horn will not sound between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. unless there is imminent danger.”

Now seriously, is there imminent danger every night at midnight, 1 a.m., 2 a.m., 3 a.m., 4 a.m., 5 a.m. and 6 a.m.? I have to agree with letter-writer Patricia E. Millar and believe that BNSF could do a lot more in being a good corporate citizen.

I also believe our mayor should get involved with this situation and help the citizens of White Rock.

The people of White Rock are not stupid. We understand safety issues, but what BNSF is doing in the middle of the night is not acceptable.

M. Copp, White Rock

• • •

A reminder to those people who do not like the sound of train horns that the trains were here before they were.

Moreover, train engineers sound their horns because it is the law. So, if you don’t like the noise, either change the law or move to somewhere train-less.

Jim Armstrong, Surrey

• • •

I feel so blessed to live in a community where the articles in the newspaper and the debates in letters to the editor are so lovely. I love my community and the fact that the complaints of our citizens are whether or not our neighbours cut down trees, the “disruption” of our sleep or enjoyment of our yard space by train whistles, idling buses or overhead passenger planes.

In light of recent world and economic events, we truly do need to recognize how lucky we are. White Rock and the surrounding areas are beautiful, peaceful and my very happy home.

Holly McNicol, Surrey

• • •

Re: Sound observations from the booming ’burbs, Sept. 1.

Columnist Lance Peverley reminisces about the “booming ’burbs” and the Surrey melody of train whistles, police sirens, and propane cannon blasts – writing eloquently about what is “noise to some, safety to others and, to a young child, a security blanket that helped him sleep soundly through the night.”

As Margaret Atwood wrote about art, “What is art to one man is another man’s dog’s breakfast.”

If Peverley lived alongside a railway or blueberry farm, he might perceive the noise as something other than a tonic for sleep.

Peverley questions why the City of Surrey is the “target” of my legal action, but the city has long failed to uphold its noise bylaw on cannon use, much like it avoids its bylaw on secondary suites.

In three decades of cannon use in Surrey, no farmer has ever been fined for violating municipal and provincial law, which is why farmers wilfully ignore the law.

Jim McMurtry, Surrey

• • •

At 80 plus, I’m a bit of an insomniac, hence as and when the trains come rumbling along the Marine Drive area, I’m usually lying awake well after midnight.

Sometimes I hear the whistle faintly well off in the distance; the next thing is the rumbling of the wheels along the track and a faint ding, ding, ding. Only when the train is well off in the distance, presumably to the east, will the engineer give a few more toots on the horn.

For at least four or five months it’s been like this, so I can’t agree with the many complaints – about loud horns from the trains into the wee hours of the morning – that have been sent to BNSF or this paper. Sorry, folks, and I live only about a block north of the tracks.

I have good hearing, and I find there’s more noise coming from drunks in the parking lot outside our building near West Beach.

Another little annoyance we have to put up with is the loud screeching of seagulls in the wee hours that sometimes carry on all day. The cawing of crows adds to the cacophony, but we have to live with it. I thank my lucky stars I don’t live near the blueberry farms!

PAN editor Lance Peverley makes some good, sensible points. I mostly enjoyed the last few paragraphs of his column. Eons ago, when I was about 12 and we lived on the outskirts of Toronto, listening to the trains going by and the sound of the horn was fabulous. It was the Depression years, and I was fifth of 11 kids, and I’d stand there and listen to the train whistle; the sound would carry me away and for a few minutes I’d use my imagination and I was content – though I don’t need train whistles any longer to be content with life.

I believe BNSF has heard the many complaints and it does seem much quieter, as far as train whistles are concerned. Let’s just hope we can keep the ‘tricksters’ off the tracks in future.

We should also think of the engineer who blows that whistle to warn us. Think how this individual would feel if he was responsible for maiming, let alone killing, someone or something that was on the tracks.

R. Carrier, White Rock

• • •

I am tired of reading about people complaining about trains, blueberry guns and agricultural odours.

The trains, blueberries, cows and pigs have been here for decades. If you don’t like it, don’t move to an area that has those things! Simple. I find it extremely arrogant of people to move into an area and expect  the environment to change just for them. Live and let live!

Lena Hunter, Surrey

 

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