White Rock – The Editor, Over the years, 19 people have been killed by trains on the beach at White Rock. Why now is there this quick and secretive push to try to keep beachgoers away from the sand and seaside? Without any public consultation, without any public awareness, Transport Canada has apparently decreed our “City by the Sea” off limits to the public.
It was with great disbelief that on June 5, I discovered that six pathways allowing people to cross over the train tracks had been closed. To the unknown eye, any history of those city-sanctioned rail crossings had been obliterated by masterful matching of railings, paint and even wipe outs of the foot paths.
How could this happen? How could it happen with such speed and secrecy? Being a White Rock council watcher and activist – and even having attended some of the rail safety committee meetings – I consider myself very aware of what is happening in White Rock.
But this was out of nowhere.
I watched two elderly women climb up from the beach dragging a prized piece of driftwood for their garden.
“Damn train,” they muttered as they crawled through the two sets of railings, over the tracks with much ado and difficulty – far more dangerous than looking both ways and walking across the tracks. Upon a call to an “insider” I was informed of more to come. And there it was on June 9, a little White Rock mobile cart sporting the phrase “Our City by the Sea” guarding the newly installed posts which would soon
be part of a locked gate, keeping our tax-supported boat launch off limits to our citizens.
And even more fences are set to be erected by the end of June.
Why is an American rail line BNSF given preference over the only recreational beach front south of the Fraser? We know that Bakken Oil, chlorine gas and many other deadly cargoes are being carried on this line through one of the most densely populated areas in B.C. It is past time to move the line! Several months ago, Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts and White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin spearheaded an overflow public meeting on rail relocation – that needs to happen.
White Rock needs to become a city of “Rails to Trails” so that all people can come and enjoy the spectacular beauty of the Salish Sea and the Semiahmoo Peninsula.
Maybe the federal government needs to step up to the plate and make this a federal park.