Thoroughfare too close to us

Editor:

Re: Grandview plan riles committee, June 30.

As disappointing as it is to hear the City of Surrey’s environmental advisory committee is denied the right to speak directly to council, it certainly does not surprise us.

Editor:

Re: Grandview plan riles committee, June 30.

As disappointing as it is to hear the City of Surrey’s environmental advisory committee is denied the right to speak directly to council, it certainly does not surprise us.

I am a member of the 32nd Avenue Alliance – a group of citizens who have come together to oppose and halt the expansion of 32 Avenue into a five-lane thoroughfare to accommodate what will be upwards of 7,000 diesel trucks a day travelling to and from the city’s industrial zone at Campbell Heights, rather than using the highways that are available to them and which provide significant setbacks.

One of the primary purposes of highway setbacks is to protect the public from the carcinogenic effect of deadly diesel exhaust. The list of exhaust-related health conditions is long. In addition to being a known cause of cancer, diesel toxins also cause neurological damage, such as development issues in children, birth defects, Alzheimer’s, heart attacks, strokes and – one we are seeing a lot of along the 32 Avenue corridor – childhood asthma.

While the developers’ Surrey First gang at city hall are not willing to speak with us about this critical health crisis facing our community, the medical committee of the 32nd Alliance is taking action. During July, we are conducting an asthma audit of families living along the 32 Avenue corridor. Early indications are that we may very well have an asthma epidemic on our hands.

We have asked to speak directly to mayor and council on the issue of this looming environmental disaster that is both a health and safety issue but, just like the environmental advisory committee, we have been denied and referred to a committee composed primarily of staff.

We are being poisoned by toxic diesel exhaust, and all the Surrey First politicians can do is play games with our health and our lives. I guess if they won’t speak with their own environmental advisory committee, we really shouldn’t expect that they would be willing to speak directly with this committee of citizens from the community – even if it is about a life-and-death issue.

Upwards of 7,000 diesel trucks a day slice through the heart of our neighbourhoods, within mere metres of our preschools, our nursing homes, our playgrounds and our homes, spewing deadly diesel exhaust all over our families. How many people have to die to provide the diesel highway trucks with a five-minute shortcut through high-density residential neighbourhoods?

The failure of council to correct this looming environmental travesty is causing the residents along the 32nd Avenue corridor grievous bodily harm. It is unfortunate our elected mayor and council choose not to hear directly from the citizens and to deny us access to them.

Ross Buchanan, Surrey