One reporter commented "What was he doing on the tracks at 3 a.m.?" I would submit, "What difference does it make?" People will speculate: he was drunk; he was high; he was a stupid youth. Again, what difference does it make? I'm tired of hearing excuses about all the people who've been struck or hit by trains. Here are the others: "Why was she jogging with headphones on? How stupid!" "He had dementia. Why didn't someone ensure he couldn't leave the house?" "She was 8 years old and didn't heed the signs." Here's the thing: society has an obligation to protect its weakest citizens. It doesn't matter that YOU wouldn't be on the tracks. You don't have a cure for Alzheimer's, stupidity, bad parenting, being a dumb kid or whatever may have ailed this latest person. You never will. But you CAN do something about protecting the old, the young, the sick, the addicted, and even the stupid.
Trains should not be running past the White Rock waterfront. There are just too many people here. It's the ocean playground of the whole Fraser Valley, as well as a tourist destination for people from Vancouver to Europe, Asia, Australia, you name it. Hundreds of thousands of people stream over the railway tracks multiple times a day in good weather and thousands in the rain. The odds are just too high, and now deaths seem to be becoming an annual tragedy. DEATHS.
White Rock and Surrey has a task force to re-route the trains, and the opposition is people who live in municipalities and neighbourhoods where the proposed new route lies. I can understand their "don't-move-your-problems-to-my-neighbourhood" mentality, I really can. Such opposition is inevitable. But here's the thing: as their neighbourhood isn't an ocean playground for literally millions of people, the odds of an accident are extremely low. So the voice of the rest of us must be incredibly louder. We can no longer slough off these deaths because of some "reason" the person died that does not affect us, personally. Collectively we make up a society and we have to have a voice for the whole of society, not just ourselves as individuals. Given the number of people down here at the beach, the risk is too high to have trains here.
I also understand that there is an issue with dangerous goods being transported on these trains and coal dust from open cars. Again, opposition to re-routing the trains is understandable. But again, our voice must be the voice of society. A train derailment of dangerous goods anywhere would have fatalities - perhaps even hundreds. But a derailment here on the waterfront, on a sunny summer day could kill hundreds of thousands.
We must make decisions for the common good, not simply for ourselves.