Surrey wants to study rail realignment with help from White Rock and province

Study and consultant work to look at where a new rail line could go is estimated to cost $700,000.

The City of Surrey hopes White Rock and the province will help fund a study to look at realignment options for the BNSF rail line.

SURREY — The City of Surrey wants to study rail realignment options to the tune of $700,000 – and it wants White Rock and the province to help pay for it.

“I wanted to wrap some real meat around the bones,” said Mayor Linda Hepner. “It’s been a discussion point, but we can’t do anything until we actually know what we’re looking at. It’s a significant amount of technical information before you’re even allowed the advance the application.”

The results of the proposed study to move the BNSF line would be the catalyst to initiate the Railway Relocation and Crossing Act (RRCA) process, which provides municipalities and provincial governments to “compel” the railway owner to relocate the train track.

It allows the federal government to pay for half the costs.

“I’m very cognizant in making sure we don’t take one piece of the puzzle and disadvantage another area,” Hepner said. “You see, the problem for them (White Rock), the removal is just that – a pure removal. For me, the removal is to where? Our complexity in my mind is significantly greater.”

Rail traffic has increased significantly along the line, with 16 to 20 trips per day, some carrying materials such as coal, chlorine and liquefied natural gas.

Residents have long since expressed concern about the increase in traffic, such as community access, noise disruption, safety, bluff erosion, dangerous goods and concerns about the environment.

And future increases are expected with Surrey Fraser Docks’ plans to double its current coal-handling capacity to four million metric tonnes per year.

While a number of measures have been taken to mitigate issues, such as whistling requirements and speed restrictions, the concerns remain and realignment has come up more than once.

In November 2013, then-mayor Dianne Watts teamed up with White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin to host an open house regarding moving the rail line away from their shared waterfront.

“We have seen between 2004 and 2013, about a 1,000 per cent increase in rail traffic,” Watts said at the time.

The city estimates a new line would cost between $350-$450 million, even higher if significant tunnelling is considered.

amy.reid@thenownewspaper.com

With files from Christopher Poon

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Claiming she has COVID-19, stranger coughs in Cloverdale woman’s face

Clayton Heights woman will now self-isolate for the next two weeks

Police watchdog finds cops blameless for deaths in 2019 Surrey hostage-taking

Woman was killed as ERT officers fired on man holding a knife to her throat and ‘what appeared to be’ a gun in his hand

No, Delta police are not pulling over cars to check for social distancing

DPD dispelling rumour cops pulling over vehicles with two or more people, checking IDs, issuing fines

White Rock/South Surrey experts launch website of mental-health resources

Together White Rock/South Surrey aims to help ease the search for supports

B.C. couple celebrates 61st anniversary through seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Association launches French-language games, online tools for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

VIDEO: Dog missing in Lower Mainland since winter sees his family again for the first time

Aldergrove helped find Buster, says dad, who has now witnessed ‘the power of social media’

Some April Fool’s Day jokes bring much-needed laughter; others tone deaf to COVID-19

Police are warning the public not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

Most Read