White Rock railway relocation could take years to be approved

WHITE ROCK — Council and residents got a clearer picture of the steps needed in order to proceed with an official bid to have White Rock’s rail line relocated from the waterfront.

In a presentation to council, rail expert and transportation consultant Mary Jane Bennett went into detail about what the city needs to do next if they intend to move forward with the relocation bid.

Likening the Railway Relocation and Crossing Act to an expropriation process, Bennett said that the rail operator in question, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, must not gain or lose financially from the relocation of the railway. The process must also occur at no net cost to the railway, and White Rock must obtain consent from all municipalities involved, meaning Surrey.

Looking at a 1987 case in Regina where it took five years for that to city have their relocation bid approved, Bennett said White Rock’s case should be a less complicated matter.

“It was five years until the agency gave green light for that to proceed and the first shovel in the ground was two years after that order,” said Bennett, noting Regina’s matter was complicated due to the relocation of a huge rail yard on top of two rail lines. “This is just a line, so it is of a less complicated nature."

White Rock must now come to an agreement with Surrey and the provincial government before moving forward.

“Ten years ago, two freight trains a day passed over the line; today twenty trains travel the line,” wrote Bennett in her report. “Every means to enhance safety—including whistling, tunnels, speed reduction, pedestrian warning signals and fencing—has failed. There have been 28 deaths and injuries on the tracks and nine significant mudslides. The lumber and cedar shingle shipments of years past have been replaced with shipments of dangerous goods like chlorine, hydrochloric acid, sodium hydrochloric acid and liquefied natural gas.

“As long as the line bisects the White Rock community, the safety issues will not dissipate. Rail relocation is needed.”



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

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock and beyond

APRIL 2: ‘Betrayal’ to shun self-isolation rules, special-needs families ‘in crisis mode’

Quarantined Surrey mom say pandemic has put special-needs families in ‘crisis mode’

Cloverdale’s Christine Williamson shares her family’s challenges, strengths

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

‘We don’t need this right now’: B.C. man breaks up road rage incident

Two men were throwing punches on Tillicum Road in Saanich on Vancouver Island

Migrant worker advocates blame feds, employers for COVID-19 outbreak at B.C. garden store

Migrant farm worker group calls on government for adequate health and safety requirements

Fraser Valley care home has two confirmed cases of COVID-19

Two residents at Mission’s Chartwell Cedarbrooke Retirement Residence have been diagnosed

‘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

COVID-19 has been impacting Canadian economy since January

But full effects of pandemic won’t be known for months

Doctors trained abroad want to join front lines of COVID-19 fight in Canada

B.C. is looking to allow internationally trained doctors to work under the supervision of attending physicians

Fake test kits and other COVID online scams play on public anxiety: fraud centre

Vancouver has seen a spike in commercial property crimes, with offices and stores empty because of COVID-19

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