Retired Hydro flack happy to refute rail boosters

Arguing rages on from both sides in regards reinstating an interurban rail system in the Valley

Dear Editor,

I must respond to [Rail boosters not going away, Langley Advance Times Letters, July 5].

I find it specious that letter writer [Rick Green] finds the TransLink staff actions appalling when they, on several occasions, have politely refuted the rationale behind his and other groups’ requests for resurrecting the old BCER/BC Hydro Fraser Valley Interurban Railway line from New Westminster to Chilliwack for a number of simple and obvious reasons.

The claim of “cost and environmentally effective transportation” by the South Fraser Community Rail Group (SFCRG) is spurious and lacks sufficient analysis to even be presented to the public through the Mayor’s Council on Transit.

TransLink’s studies are not outdated nor flawed and are not “full of falsehoods and misrepresentation of the facts.”

Nor is TransLink attempting “to discredit the public behind this campaign.”

The studies have been carried out by experts; not ex-politicians, transit bloggers and chemical lab assistants.

The SFCRG campaign lacks sufficient analysis especially when it comes to ridership projections among many other aspects of piggybacking on the old BCER/BC Hydro railway line that is heavily used in part by the Canadian Pacific Railway on the way to the Roberts Bank Terminal – a major reason for the line not being suitable for public transportation.

The head of the South Fraser Community Rail Group is a former mayor of Langley Township who failed to get re-elected in 2011 after three years of a distaff relationship with councillors. It seems that SFCRG’s relationship with TransLink has gone beyond distaff and for very obvious reasons – the disdain shown by the SFCRG’s leader and a Rail for the Valley blogger among others.

A “fair hearing” is not justified based on several transit and transportation experts with TransLink examining the paltry submission made by the SFCRG as their “laying out of the facts” is not accurate from an engineering and transit perspective.

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The group has held six public meetings attended by a handful of benignly ignorant members of the public and one former disgraced premier of B.C.

The attendance at these meetings totals about 0.00002 per cent of the voters in B.C. and 0.00001 per cent of the voters in the Lower Mainland or 0.000005 per cent of the voters in the Fraser Valley and 0.0000025 per cent of the voters in the south side of the Fraser Valley from Surrey to Chilliwack.

TransLink does not have a campaign to ignore the public on the south side of the Fraser River but is politely trying to “educate” the proponents of resurrecting the old Fraser Valley Interurban line who are failing to understand the comprehensive reasons for the old Interurban line never seeing passenger service again.

Threatening TransLink will only lead to polite responses by their senior staff that will eventually lead to SFCRG giving up like four other groups since 2001.

If the SFCRG wants a debate on the issue, I would be glad to meet with them on a stage and go through all the documents provided by them and others, including TransLink, word by word, paragraph by paragraph, page by page, section by section.

G.E. MacDonell, Abbotsford

BCER / BC Hydro Railway historian, presenter and researcher

(Formerly with BC Hydro public affairs division editorial services)

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