White Rock, January 1, 2013 – a wonderful sunny day to welcome the New Year to our magical seaside town.
About 11 a.m., a group of 40 hardy souls were getting ready to start their paddleboard race around the course to the west of the pier. And half an hour later, a much larger group of “polar bear” swimmers were gathering to run into the waters near the iconic white rock just east of the pier.
A more perfect day one could not expect.
Paddleboard organizers explained that safety was the main issue, and if you were near a fallen boarder to not to hesitate to stop for a rescue, since everyone was going to get a prize just for participating.
As one of the thousands of onlookers, I enjoyed the beauty of Semiahmoo Bay – the fresh air, the peaceful camaraderie and the unparalleled vision of the paddleboarders as they started to stretch out along the horizon on their way to the pier.
Then it happened! Like an inconsiderate house guest, the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe railway company bullied its way in front of us. Hiding the magical view of the paddleboarders, assaulting our ears with its clatter and spewing who knows what toxins into our lungs and eyes and clothing.
Talk about raining on our parade! Now instead of feeling that great wonder and peacefulness, I felt anger and lots of it. How dare they?
Time and again this happens. One hundred and thirty or so of these rail cars clattering along OUR beach.
It is the same when we have our summer festivals, and great musical acts are performing, and everything has to come to a standstill for this rude American train which has no consideration for anyone else.
Would it kill their bottom line to delay their trains for a few hours a few times a year? Doesn’t it make more sense not to run the trains when thousands of people are walking along the beach and racing to beat the train across the tracks. No, I guess BNSF is used to being just an inconsiderate bully. That’s what I think of it the many times it wakes me in the middle of the night – 3:19, 4:05, 4:19… – blasting its whistle when there is supposed to be a curfew till 6 a.m.
I really am in favor of the “E” word – expropriation – guess we have to talk to Stephen Harper about that…
In the meantime, is it possible to ask the City of White Rock to negotiate a speck of consideration from the railway asking that they hold the trains off our “waterfront playground” during these festivals?
Susan Potzold, White Rock