Opinion

LETTERS: Offence taken

Readers react to the closure of the West Beach boat launch, though Transport Canada says it gave no such order. - Tracy Holmes photo
Readers react to the closure of the West Beach boat launch, though Transport Canada says it gave no such order.
— image credit: Tracy Holmes photo

Editor:

Re: City livid over waterfront barricade, June 12.

I am appalled at what I saw today with the installation of a fence at the West Beach boat launch in White Rock. I use that access point frequently to access the beach with my paddle board, as do many friends and acquaintances with their boards and kayaks.

The beach is what makes White Rock, White Rock! When that is stripped away, what is left in this city? The beach is why people move to White Rock, it is our playground.

You can blame whomever you want for the blocking off of the access point along West Beach: BNSF, Transport Canada, etc., but I mostly blame the City of White Rock itself for not standing up stronger for its citizens and visitors.

They must remember that they are supposed to be representing us.

Are there no other solutions than barring-off the entire beach? Could we not have a city employee direct traffic across the tracks in different locations, as they do at crosswalks adjacent to schools until they install a controlled crossing?

I hope the people of White Rock and our beloved visitors rise up against what is occurring, and act.

The garbage strike didn’t cause too much uproar, as most people just threw their garbage in Surrey dumpsters or had a private company pick up their garbage. If this were Europe, everyone would have thrown their garbage on the city hall steps until the problem was resolved.

The City of White Rock understands that people won’t normally act out, so this time with the West Beach access closures, let’s surprise them and demand for them to resolve this issue.

Claude Cartelier, White Rock

• • •

Are you kidding?

I feel awful for the family and all those who know the person hit by the train, but one accident should not ruin the lifestyle of so many.

We cannot protect people from common sense.

Paddle-boarders, kayakers and crabbers who live on West Beach no longer have beach access. It is a full kilometre to the pier from Bay Street. And there is no beach access to launch anything there anyway.

This is the most ridiculous piece of legislation since the shoe bomber changed air travel.

David McNamara, White Rock

• • •

I read with dismay the news regarding the Transport Canada-ordered closures on White Rock beach, apparently in response to incidents involving pedestrians and trains. Further, I am appalled to discover that overnight a barrier has been erected at the boat launch at West Beach – this with no warning or discussion.

The city media release suggests the priority for this action is the health and well-being of residents and visitors. It seems to me that restricting beach access accomplishes exactly the opposite.

I am a frequent user of what is White Rock’s most precious resource and I am deeply troubled by these developments.

Chalmers W. Caldwell, White Rock

• • •

We have 400 active members who represent 80 per cent of Crescent Beach households. I speak for all, by extending gratitude for White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin’s conviction and courage in the face of rail safety and the lack of planning and respect.

The White Rock beach, restaurants and shops are an iconic and unique Canadian fixture. White Rock serves as a recreational anchor for a million land-locked British Columbians whose lives are enriched by their sea-side neighbour.

If the businesses of White Rock suffer, the cultural relevance, quality of life and real estate value will be reduced for the entire Fraser Valley.

We respect that he is not only fighting for the best interests of his local constituents, but for all taxpayers who don’t want to drive their families to Vancouver just to enjoy a day at the beach.

Erik Seiz, Crescent Beach Property Owners Association

• • •

The fencing by the BNSF can best be tied to Mayor Wayne Baldwin and simply poor representation in the political sandbox.

He has forced the BNSF to act accordingly to protect the general public as mandated by Transport Canada. His undue criticism of a bright representative of Transport Canada was uncalled for and derogatory in nature. Just to not agree on a point is no reason to lower yourself to the comments Baldwin has made.

While I do not have a crystal ball, I somewhat predicted the cage fencing of the waterfront access due to the mayor’s untempered comments in the PAN last fall (Time to work as a team, Oct. 3 letters).

The damage Baldwin’s comments has done is only starting to rear its ugly head. Taxpayers will be impacted by way of substantially reduced parking revenue from tourism, and our fragile small business community will no doubt feel the impact as well.

Baldwin should cease any further seemingly personal attacks on higher levels of government officials involving the BNSF property.

It is truly the mandate of others, and in an election year he should focus on reelection issues that will not cause harm to our tax base and small business community.

Ron Eves, White Rock

• • •

Congratulations to White Rock mayor and council for successfully destroying our beautiful little city.

By caving in to the few whiners and complainers about safety-rail issues, they badgered the railway who then had to contact Transport Canada. Voila; no boat launch area, rails/fences all along the tracks with very few access areas to the beach, which is quite long, by the way.

I believe visitors to White Rock will be no more. They will find other places to go. Not to mention how horrific this is for the people of White Rock and South Surrey who reside here and enjoy the beach.

So much for your pay parking revenue and as usual, the merchants along Marine are screwed further.

This is a disaster that could have been avoided by using a little common sense. I’m almost in tears writing this. It makes me so mad and sad. I was raised in White Rock and am now 66 years old. We were taught train safety at an early age. “Stop, look and listen”. It seems to have worked quite well for us since no White Rocker from my generation was ever hit by a train that I know of.

A few people have ruined it for everyone, including themselves. I bet they didn’t see this coming.

The railway probably got fed up listening over the years and putting up more signs and said “you want safety, we’ll give you safety!”

There’s so much more to say. I’m sure others will be writing in their feelings, too.

Laurie Mark & Don Barnett, Surrey

• • •

To put a six-foot fence along the beach in White Rock would turn a lovely seaside resort into an ugly prison-like environment, copying all the walls put up by various nations, restricting the freedom of its citizens.

In our case, the individuals should be responsible for their safety.

There will always be some people devoid of reasonable behaviour, probably trying to climb over the fence. Why should all of us pay for these individuals, not to mention the dollar expense?

Helga Anderson, White Rock

 

(Editor's note: While the City of White Rock announced last Friday the removal of the gate lock, Transport Canada says it never gave that specific order in the first place.

 

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