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Look past your own community
I’m sorry to disappoint your many readers who have been encouraged by local politicians to believe there is a possibility to move the current railway from the White Rock and South Surrey waterfront.
I believe there are two important reasons why this will not happen – cost and precedence.
Since BNSF is happy where it’s presently located, it is certainly not going to pay the cost. And thus the cost shifts to taxpayers in Canada.
Since the taxpayers of White Rock don’t have money, they will need to turn to Surrey, the province and the federal government.
The City of Surrey urgently needs $1.8 billion for its proposed light-rapid-transit plan. I cannot see our mayor and council jeopardizing this key initiative needed for the future development of all of Surrey, over a project that largely benefits the residents of White Rock.
Further, moving the tracks to other locations in South Surrey will certainly adversely impact other residents.
We all know that both the provincial and federal governments are hugely in debt and may balk at funding the large majority of this project, but I believe their biggest concern would be the precedence.
Just drive down the Fraser Valley and consider the number of other communities through which even more heavily used railways run, such as Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Mission, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Langley City, New Westminster, Burnaby and Vancouver.
Then consider similar situations across the rest of B.C. and Canada.
If White Rock can get a lightly used rail line moved and paid for largely by senior governments, don’t think for a minute that hundreds if not thousands of other communities similarly affected would not ask for equal funding totalling tens of billions of dollars.
I appreciate that tracks already cross the border at Sumas and could be used to handle any dangerous goods currently passing through White Rock. My question to this suggestion is, why should residents of other communities face any risks from the transportation of these goods through their communities so that the residents of White Rock, Ocean Park and Crescent Beach can sleep soundly at night?
Residents of White Rock and South Surrey would be better off to pressure our MLAs and MP to have Transport Canada ensure the highest safety and inspection standards for the BNSF rail line and for that matter all other rail lines traversing other areas of Surrey.
Tim Roark, Surrey
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Re: Keeping track of the positives, negatives, Dec. 3 letters.
Moving the train tracks – what a red herring! The Dec. 3 edition of the PAN featured nine letters to the editor commenting on the pros and cons of moving the railway tracks, but unfortunately, all of them missed the point.
The issue here is not where the tracks are. The issue is the increase in the number of trains and the fact that they are carrying toxic American thermal coal that has been refused passage through American communities, and that this coal, when it is burned in China, will contribute to air pollution and global warming.
The atmosphere covers the planet – White Rock as well as China.
We should be doing all we can to prevent this low-grade coal from passing through any community in B.C. and also to prevent enlarged facilities being built for its export.
Opposition seemed to be growing and there has been much discussion of health and environmental hazards. Many homes along Marine Drive have posted “No Coal” signs.
Now, with even a remote possibility of the tracks being moved, that all seems to be forgotten.
Let’s stick to the real issue here and get involved in doing whatever we can to prevent the transportation and use of this toxic substance.
Ann Harris, Surrey