More than 300 people packed South Surrey's Pacific Inn Nov. 26 for a community meeting on railway relocation.

EDITORIAL: Distancing themselves

Apparent backtracking on the desire to reroute trains from the Semiahmoo Peninsula waterfront drives a wedge between mayors, writes PAN.

Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts has a clear message for those taking sides on whether to relocate the BNSF train tracks from the Semiahmoo Peninsula waterfront.

The trouble is, the message seems to depend on which side one’s on.

Those who are in favour were presented with four potential routes at a city-hosted ‘South Surrey Rail Open House,’ at which Watts herself focused nearly all talk on moving the tracks inland.

To those who question the effect on other Surrey residents – and the cost, estimated by proponents to be up to $450 million – Watts maintains her primary concern is improving the existing tracks.

To further complicate matters, this week Surrey Coun. Mary Martin – a longtime Watts backer – wrote to a Morgan Creek resident who expressed criticism of moving the tracks. In an email cc’d to Watts, fellow councillors and the media, Martin said: “I must respond to your concerns as they are incorrect. Mayor Watts’ only concerns are for the safety of the rail shipments, in particular the crossing at Crescent Beach. It was (White Rock Mayor Wayne) Baldwin who brought up the idea of the realignment. This will not happen in the near (future) nor in the foreseeable future.”

Not sure where Martin got the impression that Watts hasn’t put herself at the forefront of Baldwin’s issue – or what her definition of “foreseeable future” is – but surely it must be an informed opinion.

Asked Monday to speak for herself, Watts maintains the open house was merely to get “the conversation” started.

With all due respect to our leaders, this conversation has been going on for some time… with or without them. And for such dialogue to have more meaning than simple rhetoric, all stakeholders must be present.

Perhaps that should have been our first clue that the meeting was merely an opportunity for our elected officials to get face time with their public. It mattered less who was at the meeting, but who wasn’t. No BNSF representative spoke. No Amtrak. No sign of MP Russ Hiebert. Politicians from Blaine weren’t invited. Nor were affected MLAs (though Surrey-White Rock’s Gordon Hogg dropped by on his own accord).

What we ended up with was two mayors – backed by Surrey staff and a handful of councillors from both cities – who shared the podium seemingly for a united cause.

Now, after all this backtracking, the distance between these two leaders seems all the greater.

 

Just Posted

FOCUS: New arena, more ice in Surrey – but will it be enough for everyone?

With both rinks to close at North Surrey rec, the result is a net gain of one ice sheet this fall

Accused Surrey transit cop shooter’s bail hearing set for April

Daon Gordon Glasgow, 35, is accused of shooting Transit Police Constable Josh Harms, 27

House fire in South Surrey

Emergency crews seen racing towards 160 Street and 28 Avenue

White Rock’s Cliff Annable ‘lived a life that mattered’

Hundreds gather to remember affable 71-year-old

Two suspects sought after man shot in Surrey’s Hawthorne Park Sunday

Police say victim was arrested after being treated for gunshot in hospital

VIDEO: RCMP ask kids to help name soon-to-be police dogs

13 German shepherd puppies will be born this year

Horvat scores 16 seconds into OT as Canucks beat Blackhawks 3-2

Pettersson sets rookie scoring record for Vancouver

No injuries, pollution in Vancouver Harbour ship collision: Transport Canada

Transportation Safety Board says it has deployed a team of investigators look into the incident

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget on Tuesday

New concussion guidelines launched for Canada’s Olympians, Paralympians

The guidelines will be in effect at this summer’s Pan American, Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru

Alphonso Davies doubtful for Canada game against French Guiana in Vancouver

Canada will be without injured captain Scott Arfield and veteran Will Johnson

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh steps into the House of Commons, making history

Burnaby South MP becomes first visible minority to lead a federal party in the House of Commons

Chilliwack grad says modest dress codes don’t protect girls from assault

Sardis alumni was ‘catcalled, harassed, and groped by my male classmates’ despite modest clothing

Most Read