File photo Closeness of the rail route to the Semiahmoo Peninsula’s increasing population is an urgent concern, particularly in the wake of the tragic death of a teenager last week, MP Gordie Hogg and MLA Tracy Redies say.

South Surrey rail tragedy emphasizes safety and relocation concerns

Three levels of government need to act say MP, MLA

The Semiahmoo Peninsula’s MP and MLA say the tragic death of 15 year-old Jack Stroud last week underlines the need for action from all levels of government on rail safety.

South Surrey-White Rock MP Gordie Hogg and Surrey-White Rock MLA Tracy Redies both say they were horrified and saddened by the accident in which the Elgin Park student lost his life after being struck by a northbound passenger train near Crescent Beach on July 4.

The incident – now under investigation by the coroner’s service after police confirmed Monday it did not involve foul play – occurred less than a week after they both participated in a meeting hosted by federal Ministry of Transportation officials in which local politicians advanced safety concerns regarding the BNSF’s waterfront route.

“It’s a terrible, terrible, sad irony that we were just discussing this, and then to have this tragedy occur… it’s devastating; terrible for the family and for the community,” said Hogg.

“It emphasizes the whole issue of the need for looking at safety in the short term,” he added, noting that while rail relocation remains a long-term goal, “table-top exercises” to strategize for increased safety around the line, which will involve White Rock, Surrey and Semiahmoo First Nation, are a top priority.

“We must do everything we can to make sure the route is safe,” he said, noting that an increase in train traffic – now an average of 15 to 20 trains per day – plus a growing Peninsula population, only heightens the possibility of tragic accidents.

“It’s a decidedly different environment today than it was 100 years ago,” he said. “(This incident) reinforces the need for us to do everything we can.”

“Gordon and I are joined at the hip on this one,” said Redies, who said the death of Stroud had a particular impact on her, as the mother of a son aged 21. “I was sick to my stomach (to hear about it).”

She noted that while the federal government has shown an interest in funding a study of rail relocation, and both White Rock and Surrey have committed to cost-share it, the provincial government has not provided any tangible support so far.

“I’ve been lobbying the provincial government heavily for support,” Redies said.

Negotiations between the province and Washington state over a high-speed rail corridor are still seen as a short-cut to developing an alternative route for freight traffic locally, she said.

“While (freight) would have to run on a different track, it would make sense to have it travel the same corridor,” she said.

“It’s up to all three levels of government (to look at both rail safety and ultimate relocation).

“I want us to stop thinking about jurisdictions and start thinking what is in the best interests of the community,” Redies added.

“The risks are getting higher as the trains are getting longer.”

Just Posted

RCMP ask for help in locating woman last seen in Hope July 11

Police say Shawnee Morita Inyallie may be in need of medical attention

Update: Search called off for missing person in Jones Lake Area

Hope Search and Rescue crews re-started search at 6 a.m. this morning

Man arrested in Maple Ridge in connection with Victoria-area murder

Daniel Creagh faces second-degree murder charge in death of Joseph Gauthier

Habitat for Humanity says it owes no money to former CEO

Upper Fraser Valley branch responds to wrongful dismissal lawsuit

UPDATED: Police call off search for body under Agassiz Rosedale Bridge

Swimmers reported discovering body two days ago

BC Games: Day 3 wrap and closing ceremonies

The torch in the Cowichan Valley has been extinguished as Fort St. John gets ready to host the 2020 BC Winter Games

Police confirm girl, 8 others injured in Toronto shooting; shooter dead

Paramedics said many of the victims in Danforth, including a child, were rushed to trauma centres

Why do they do it? Coaches guide kids to wins, personal bests at the BC Games

Behind the 2,300 B.C. athletes are the 450 coaches who dedicate time to help train, compete

Gold medallists at BC Games only trained together for 1 day

Ryan Goudron, Nathan Chan, Owen Pinto and Praise Aniamaka from Zone 4 - Fraser River ran together for the first time

Five taken to hospital after one of two Coquihalla accidents

One airlifted in critical condition, four taken via ambulance in stable condition

Government sets full-time salary range for Justin Trudeau’s nanny

At its top range, the order works out to a rate of $21.79 per hour, assuming a 40-hour work week

Lower Mainland teams battle for baseball gold at BC Games

Vancouver Coastal squeaked out a 3-2 win against Fraser Valley

The Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw people signed an agreement-in-principle with the B.C. government

The signing ceremony, at the Eliza Archie Memorial School, was 25 years in the making

Canada to resettle dozens of White Helmets and their families from Syria

There are fears the volunteers would become a target for government troops

Most Read