Letters

LETTERS: White Rock railing over orders

Above,  man risks trespassing on the BNSF rail line in White Rock last October to photograph an oncoming freight train. Below, a passenger train makes its presence known Tuesday in West Beach.  - Tracy Holmes photos
Above, man risks trespassing on the BNSF rail line in White Rock last October to photograph an oncoming freight train. Below, a passenger train makes its presence known Tuesday in West Beach.
— image credit: Tracy Holmes photos

Editor:

Re: City livid over waterfront barricade, June 12; BNSF to close West Beach waterfront railing gaps, May 27.

Should we put up fences around everything that could be dangerous?

We moved to White Rock less than a year ago because of the beautiful situation by the ocean, the beautiful beaches and the great sea wall for long walks. It’s a very European feel to this city that we love, and so do tourists.

A big, ugly fence will definitely destroy this feeling and keep people from this special city.

If we are going to put up fences around everything that could be dangerous, we need to put fences around lakes, rivers, cliffs, roads, etc.

People do get killed in all those places, after all.

Instead, let us teach our children about possible dangers and mature people need to lead by example.

An easy solution to keep people aware would be to install red lights that will flash when a train is coming. If we can both hear and see these trains, nobody can say they weren’t warned.

We need to be able to get to our beaches.

Gunilla Lindgren, White Rock

• • •

What is with all the craziness in barricading off the beach access and railroad tracks?

Honestly, they do not barricade and put up fences along the sides of roadways and, guess what, people manage every day to survive. However, if you choose to walk down the middle of the road or cross the street without looking both ways you may get hit, same as crossing railroad tracks! So what the heck is going on?

Krystene Harvey, Surrey

• • •

As a new resident of White Rock I can’t help but find the railway debate akin to a Monty Python skit.

I grew up with a very busy – 60-plus trains a day – CNR line at the bottom of our field. The only time I recall anyone being injured by a train was when teenagers were playing on slow moving trains and fell off and broke an arm or leg. Never once did those trains leave the tracks to run into vehicles or pedestrians.

As a regular walker of the West Vancouver sea wall in and along Ambleside Beach I noticed there are several streets crossing the railway tracks, pedestrian-only railroad crossings, a park, a beach, a children’s playground, tennis courts, two piers, a boat launch, art galleries, a dog park, waterfront sea-wall walk and free parking. I don’t recall any problem with “railway safety.”

Nor do I see a never-ending debate about rail safety in the North Shore News. Could it be that the residents of Canada’s richest postal code are that much smarter that they have enough good sense to watch for trains when walking on or near railroad tracks?

Don MacKay, White Rock

 

Not a sound solution for rail safety

Editor:

It appears from BNSF’s reply to my email to them that it is Transport Canada that insists on loud honking every few seconds over the half-mile stretch along the White Rock beach area – even at 2 a.m. – so I will deal with the Canadian authorities with this issue in future.

A passenger train makes its presence known Tuesday in West Beach. I sincerely appreciate BNSF’s prompt response to my inquiry, because no one else seems to care about our quality of life along this beautiful beachfront community and especially the Marine Drive residents, the entire hillside and uptown areas of our wonderful “City by the Sea.”

When will sanity prevail?

If I drove through town honking my car horn every two seconds, I’m sure I would be charged with disturbing the peace.

Kevin Floyd, White Rock

• • •

For the last nine years my family and I have made our dream home on the hillside of idyllic White Rock. Before we built, we lived in the old cottage for about four months – doing our due diligence – to see if we would be happy in this environment. That was long before the coal and oil trains wreaked havoc with our lives.

Now, with the latest edict from Transport Canada requiring the trains to blow their whistles for the full length of the promenade from dawn to dusk, I am further distressed.

However, some of the engineers seem not to know the difference between a.m. and p.m. In the early morning hours of last Saturday, a train woke me from a deep sleep. This, in itself, is not at all unusual. However, the fact that it continued to blow its whistle the full length of the promenade on a cold rainy morning made me think the engineer was a sadistic individual. He is certainly not gaining any brownie points for BNSF and he is not following the directive from Transport Canada, and he is certainly creating health problems for me with sleep deprivation.

I implore BNSF to have some consideration for the health of White Rock residents and not ignore the serious health problems caused by sleep deprivation – it reminds me of waterboarding torture, thankfully not to such a drastic degree.

Susan Potzold, White Rock

• • •

So Transport Canada now decided to block off our beaches just before summer with virtually no warning? That seems rather strange to me, since our elected city officials have been in negotiations with them since last year – after the death of the jogger – to increase the safety at the waterfront.

Surely our officials must have known what Transport Canada’s intentions were before they proceeded. If not, it seems rather sudden and secretive for Transport Canada to do what they did, which has not only now increased our safety risks at the beach, but will also drive away our tourists due to the inconveniences they have caused, and hence effect our waterfront businesses negatively.

I have also heard the trains blowing their horns late at night and in the early morning hours, and can tell you that I have been down at the beach during those times, and in most instances there is usually no one in sight as far as the eye can see, yet the conductors are still blowing their horns down the beach and beyond. Perhaps the problem lies more with the conductors and not with dangers ahead.

I suspect these conductors may just be somewhat over-cautious in their duties, and sounding their horns is the only solution, so perhaps they should be monitored more and the problem would resolve itself.

Why can they not use bells, rather than horns, in the early-morning hours and late evenings, so as to not disturb others for miles around? Bells were used years ago on trains rather than horns which worked out quite well, and probably used so they would not disturb the right to quiet enjoyment of others.

Cheryl Berti, White Rock

• • •

The federal bureaucrats employed to regulate railroads don’t seem to bother themselves about safe operation, what cargoes are carried, how and when they are carried, or with ensuring equipment and roadbed are adequately designed and effectively maintained.

In terms of train speed and frequency along our beaches, railroads are permitted to treat a sunny Sunday afternoon in July exactly the same as a rainy night in November, regardless of the relative risks of killing people.

Whatever their job descriptions, the bureaucrats don’t appear to be thinking in terms of regulating railroads. Their solution is that when people are harmed or killed, regulate the victims.

If people going back and forth to their beach are killed by trains, then fence off the beach. If ear-shattering train horns can warn people of oncoming trains, then blow those horns constantly to the point where people hear nothing else. Never mind about waking up tens of thousands, night after night after night, for no reason whatever.

Ronald Chisholm, Surrey

 


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