The City of White Rock’s investigation into security cameras on the waterfront is logical

The City of White Rock’s investigation into security cameras on the waterfront is logical

The times they are a-changing

Editor:

Re: Private rights vs. public wrongs, July 5 letters.

Editor:

Re: Private rights vs. public wrongs, July 5 letters.

Letter writers are opposed to waterfront cameras, based on their perceived loss of liberty and privacy.

I would suggest that security of the person and deterrence to crime is a greater concern.

Closed-circuit TV and other cameras have been among us for many years without any noticeable breach of privacy. Every person using a bank or ATM machine is on camera. Convenience stores, service stations and parking lots depend on cameras for safety and security. Even if you visit your local supermarket or shopping centre, chances are you will appear on camera.

With respect to legal rights, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the right to life, liberty and security, but does not include or suggest any right to privacy.

According to the Privacy Act, violation of privacy is a tort or civil wrong. Any act or conduct is not a violation of privacy, if it is incidental to the exercise of a lawful right of defence of person or property.

Also, it would appear the right to liberty and freedom is enhanced, rather than infringed by security cameras.

The issue of waterfront cameras in White Rock has created a groundswell of emotion, with concern for loss of privacy. Security appears to be secondary, as residents think of White Rock as a small seaside and somewhat isolated community of only 20,000 people.

This may be true, but White Rock is part of a large metropolis of approximately two million people and, as such, is visited by people from many cities, as well as Washington State. All things being considered, let’s not be too hasty to justify privacy over safety and security.

Charles Parrott, Surrey

• • •

There was a time, a few years ago, when White Rock was a quiet seaside town isolated from the commotion north of the yellow line on North Bluff Road.

Today, development north of that yellow line in Cloverdale, Grandview Corners, Langley and Panorama Ridge means more people are coming to White Rock to enjoy the beach, the promenade and, hopefully, the businesses on Marine Drive. These people park their cars in lots owned by Burlington Northern Santa Fe, cross the railroad tracks at uncontrolled level pedestrian crossings owned by BNSF and walk the promenade on land owned by BNSF, not fenced and isolated, as is every other railroad right of way on the Pacific coast.

We use that promenade and collect parking fees under an agreement with BNSF that includes our being responsible for security of the area. When that agreement was negotiated, nobody anticipated the White Rock rail line carrying far more than a dozen trains a day and nobody foresaw regular 120-car coal trains carrying Wyoming coal to Westshore Terminals that now ships over 20 million tons of coal to Asia.

White Rock is no longer isolated by the yellow line.

Risk management is fundamental to any corporation, and increasing numbers of people walking six feet away from increasing trains is a risk-management problem. What risk? On Canada Day, I watched parents encourage children to put coins, stones, whatever on the tracks in front of the approaching coal train. Friday, a father had his child stand between the tracks for that perfect picture with the oncoming train in the background.

Sending RCMP to walk the promenade is a waste of resources. Their work slate is full with people who ignore our assumed security of the North Bluff yellow line. We have two bylaw officers on duty for the whole city.

Monitoring the promenade by CCTV is logical and cost effective, especially given this is private property and in the best interests of the owner, BNSF. Our request to BNSF to install cameras is the starting point.

The outcry citing “1984” should be reminded that Orwell wrote that novel in 1949. The world has changed in 63 years and so has White Rock.

Coun. Larry Robinson, White Rock