Ensure protection of pristine area
The recently elected Liberal government pledged to increase Canada’s coastal marine protected areas from 1.3 per cent to five per cent by 2017 and 10 per cent by 2020. Now wouldn’t it be a feather in the Liberals’ cap if some of this protected area is right here in our own backyard?
Boundary Bay, along with the Serpentine estuary, are part of a complex West Coast ecosystem of international importance. Identified as World Heritage site number 243 by the Ramsar convention (www.ramsar.org), the area provides feeding and roosting sites to about 250,000 migrating and wintering waterfowl and one million shorebirds.
Also, provincially and federally listed fish species of concern can be found within the estuarine habitats.
On the business side of things, this tidal basin provides for a vital local recreational, commercial and native crabbing industry.
This is all threatened because the main artery between Canada and the U.S. for moving goods, including dangerous goods such as chlorine and ammonia, is a single rail track which winds its way along the edge of this environmentally sensitive area.
Let’s not wait until it is too late and the damage is done. Let’s ensure the protection of this pristine area by relocating the track to a more suitable, inland route as soon as possible.
Fiona Old, White Rock
Better for everyone
The best 15 kilometres of land in Canada lies along Surrey’s untouched foreshore between White Rock and Crescent Beach. It has the best weather, south exposure and views of the Gulf Islands and Mt. Baker. Few people have ever seen it because the railway prevents access.
The Boundary Bay foreshore is the backyard to everyone living south of the Fraser River. Unlocking this national treasure is a benefit to us all, including those who should not have to pack up their family, bicycles, and picnics, then drive to Stanley Park or the islands to have a world-class seaside escape.
Moving the track will connect the bay’s beaches to the Delta dyke, allowing a currently isolated ocean playground to be easily accessed and enjoyed by all of Surrey, as well as Delta. After completion of the new Massey bridge, Richmond, New Westminster and Vancouver will also be part of this enhanced recreational system. Working together, B.C. will then have created an iconic green corridor from downtown Vancouver to the border, which will have a lasting positive lifestyle and economic benefit for the whole province.
Relocating the track will make life better for everyone. If better is possible, why would we not try exploring that option?
No good for most
The train track relocation idea is not popular with approximately 98 per cent of the residents of Surrey.
If the complainers don’t like living with the railroad tracks, then move away. They knew the train tracks were there before they bought their properties. They knowingly decided to purchase their homes anyway.
The complainers are unethical because they have no problem dumping all their train issues on other innocent Surrey victims. They think they are better than the rest of us.
The cost of track relocation would be $350 million to 1 billion, depending on the option selected. Surrey cannot afford this cost; it needs its financial funds for real issues, like crime and transportation infrastructure. Surrey should not waste these critical funds on the train track relocation wishes of two per cent of Surrey homeowners who deliberately chose to buy their properties, beside the train tracks.
White Rock and the Surrey residents of Ocean Park and Crescent Beach like to say their motives are altruistic and not selfish, simply a logical request to prevent a possible catastrophe caused by contamination of hazardous goods.
The evidence does not support this. The train tracks have been there for 106 years. Has there been an evacuation due to a derailment? Has there been a fatality due to hazardous goods? The trains slow down as they travel through the beach area. The risk of a derailment is extremely small. The main cargo is coal. Coal does not explode if it spills onto the ground. So what really are the issues?
If Crescent Beach has a safety issue with their access road shut down by a possible train blockage, then I suggest a special levy on all of the Crescent Beach residents alone to fund an underpass beneath the train tracks. The Crescent Beach
The two percent of Surrey residents along the beaches, will see their property values increase while the mistreated Surrey victims who will have the train track problems forced upon them will see their property values drop considerably. White Rock does not care because the train tracks will be relocated completely in Surrey. Such wonderful neighbours!
I understand most of Surrey’s politicians live near the beach. – including Coun. Judy Villeneuve, a vocal advocate for relocation.
I suggest she and all of Surrey’s representatives do their duty and reflect the wishes of the majority of Surrey.
Train track relocation is an idea Surrey can easily do without.