File photo Extensive Transport Canada-mandated work to upgrade railway crossings in White Rock this year – including this one at Bay Street – should pay off in eliminating most sounding of train whistles from the waterfront by the end of December, according to city operations and engineering director Jim Gordon.

City of White Rock hopes to have train whistles muted by year’s end

BNSF ‘whistle cessation’ won’t include Coldicutt Ravine, SFN lands

Loud and piercing BNSF train whistles – or most of them, at least – should be silenced on White Rock’s waterfront before the new year, according to a report from city engineering and municipal operations director Jim Gordon.

At Monday night’s council meeting Gordon reported that the city appears to have jumped through most of the hoops required by Transport Canada for approval of “whistle cessation” – including reconstruction of eight waterfront railway crossings.

The federal government contributed more than $1.63 million in funding the crossing upgrades to meet new Transport Canada regulations, with additional cost sharing by BNSF.

Gordon said that – even allowing time for deficiency remediation and confirmation of details with BNSF and Transport Canada – “we’re hopeful that we can have whistle cessation in place by the end of the year.”

READ MORE: Transport Canada wants train-whistle review for White Rock

READ MORE: ‘Law laid down’ on train whistles through White Rock

An important step in the process came Monday night, when council voted to receive Gordon’s report for information, endorsing a resolution that – subject to completion of deficiencies relating to the crossings – the city formally agrees that train whistles should not be used at the crossings. A notice explaining the city’s position will also be published in news media and on the city website.

“Then all we need is the technical evaluation (of the crossings),” Gordon said. “Then we’re all set.”

The bad news for residents who have long sought relief from the whistles is that they can’t be eradicated entirely – Gordon said that while the new crossings address previously-noted safety issues, train whistles would still continue in the Coldicutt Ravine area of West Beach and other nearby areas where people are known to cross railway tracks to access the beach.

Whistles will also be sounded around uncontrolled crossings on Semiahmoo First Nation land east of Finlay Street, Gordon noted.

“We’ve certainly had a lot of interest in this community for stopping the whistles,” Gordon said, adding that an open house in June 2017 at White Rock Museum and Archives showed that “everybody was firmly behind the plan to do this.”

The city engaged in extensive consultation, and design collaboration, on the crossing upgrades with BNSF and Transport Canada.

The crossings were completed this year with improved signage and crossing surface specifications, as well as better sightlines and warning systems, and the city and the railway seem to be “on the same page” that the crossings meet safety requirements, subject to remediation of any deficiences, Gordon said in his written report.

But Gordon told council that whistles must still be sounded in the Coldicutt area, where First Nations archaeological sites are still being investigated.

“There’s a lot of archaeolgical impacts if we start building fences and things over at Coldicutt,” Gordon said.



alexbrowne@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

South Surrey event to benefit efforts to help Cambodia rebuild

Cambodia ‘missing a whole generation’ due to Khmer Rouge genocide

White Rock couple to donate blood 325th time, collectively

Anne Friendly will make her 175th donation, while her husband Kevin Klop will donate his 150th time

South Surrey mothers to launch CBD-infused water product

Three friends say benefits may include anxiety relief, pain management

4-year-old child injured in Surrey after falling out window

Child fell out of third-storey window, expected to fully recover

City of White Rock hosts official pier reopening

Event included ribbon-cutting, speeches, live music

VIDEO: ‘Thrones,’ ‘Fleabag’ top Emmys

Billy Porter makes history as first openly gay black man to win best drama-series acting Emmy

VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Cari McGillivray posted the head-turning video, shot near Stewart, B.C., to social media

Give severely addicted drug users injectable medical-grade heroin, guideline says

CMAJ article outlines best practices for innovative treatment that’s been lacking in overdose crisis

B.C. court hears disclosure arguments in Meng Wanzhou case

Huawei exec argues she was unlawfully detained at YVR last December at direction of U.S. authorities

Trudeau attacks Scheer, Harper, Ford in first federal salvo for Ontario

Liberal leader targets three big conservative rivals in second full week of campaign

Over 200 Hotel Georgia hospitality workers join ‘open-ended strike’

Unionized workers at Hyatt Regency, Westin Bayshore and Pinnacle Harbourfront have also walked out

Hiker rescued after spending night on Crown Mountain

North Shore Rescue spotted the woman by helicopter over Hanes Valley

PHOTOS: Steller sea lion with plastic around neck rescued on Vancouver Island

Rescue staff determined the plastic band cut the protected animal’s neck approximately two inches

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Most Read