Letter: Langley City overpass cost beyond money

Dear Editor,

The $110.4-million cost to the taxpayers for supposed convenience of not being stopped by trains [New overpasses celebrated, June 10, Langley Advance] comes with a double edged sword.

Langley already sees more than 10 trains a day; these overpasses signal additional trains will be coming.

Langley train noise is significant; there is strong evidence connecting sleep deprivation or interruption to a whole host of health problems, from learning difficulties to serious lung and cardiovascular impact.

No Health Impact Assessment (HIA) has been done, nor is one planned.

Port Metro Vancouver, and its perpetually smiling CEO Robyn Sylvester refused to do the HIA for the proposed Fraser Surrey Docks coal proposal, which will see more trains coming through South Surrey and up to North Surrey, an assessment called for by thousands, including the Fraser Health Authority and Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Paul Van Buynder.

While that is American thermal coal, frankly all coal, B.C.’s as well, has potential harm to the residents that at least needs to be assessed prior to such impactful decisions being made.

To not do such assessments calls into question why we need education at all. If we don’t need education, perhaps we can close up the schools and never have to worry about the current education strike/lockout situation.

Would that make us a better society? Perhaps we should have a poll on that.

This is distressing, as the most recent study of the impact of coal trains, done on Seattle replicating the types of trains and coal amounts the Fraser Surrey Docks proposal would see, suggests serious harmful emissions will result.

While there is no doubt about the importance of the coal industry to the economy of B.C., in virtually every area which could have serious health and environmental impacts to our society, we take pains to do the proper assessments.

This is all the more important, considering the location of approximately 30 Langley schools within the five kilometre range of coal dust and diesel particulates coming off the trains.

Frequent long trains at rail crossings will mean delayed emergency medical service response times, increased accidents, traumatic injury, and death.

I don’t have all the answers, but I have lots of questions. We, as a society, deserve to have our questions answered. That is a hallmark of a democracy.

Steven Faraher-Amidon, Clayton

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