An open letter to South Surrey-White Rock MP Dianne Watts.
While I applaud recommendations concerning the responsibility of rail companies to address the effects of slope destabilization, mud slides and flooding, as well as requiring rail companies to provide real-time knowledge of the transportation of dangerous goods to first responders, the proposal by some parties to relocate the railway track is a non-starter (Cities present four rail-route options, Nov. 28, 2013), given the fact that BNSF has owned the right-of-way on which the tracks are located since 1909 and the inordinately high cost of doing this.
The primary concerns stem from destabilization of the rail track as a result of erosion; next is where trains block access into and out of Crescent Beach; and the third is safe access to and from White Rock beach.
Destabilization concerns arise largely from the fact that in the stretch from White Rock to Crescent Beach, there are areas exposed to the sea. If large rocks were deposited between the tracks and the ocean, this would break the force of the waves and eliminate the erosion.
In addition, if the promenade walk were extended from White Rock to Crescent Beach – and made wide enough to accommodate emergency vehicles, with the large rocks placed closest to the sea – this would not only solve the problem for residents of Crescent Beach, it would also provide additional benefits, the way the seawall does in Stanley Park.
Finally, safe access to White Rock beach could be accomplished by placing additional pedestrian walkways underneath the rail track. There is already one such access point on the west side of the beach, and others could be strategically placed from East to West beaches.
The only problem would be parking at the Crescent Beach end for the increased tourist traffic, but there is a large tract of land already used for parking on Blackie Spit, which is underutilized and available.
All this could be done for a fraction of the cost of relocating the tracks and would create a ‘win-win’ situation for all parties.
Ken Harrap, Surrey