QCB: Rail Noise & Mental Health?

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Is Rail Noise A Matter Of Mental Health? Some Residents Now Actively Pursuing This Option.

Whistle Cessation is what everyone appears to be striving for. While the original struggle began in 2010 with the Quayside Community Board resulting in an agreement with the four rail companies to abate Rail Noise & Vibration, it did not tackle the incessant bombardment of rail whistles.

While the City of New Westminster has made strides toward the cessation of whistles, it has been unable in nearly ten years to once and for all quiet the whistles. The city has installed rail arms and sound indicators (bells) at Begbie crossing to eliminate the need for trains to utilize their whistle/bells alerts when crossing.

The city also installed another set of arms at the Laguna Landing. Sighting issues such as sight-lines and hand-flagging as partial reasons for the continued whistling, these are not fully operational leaving residents to contend with the sounds of the bells from the new crossing as well as the train whistles. Instead of fixing the issue of whistle cessation it has in made the matter worse resulting in the continued frustration of owners in the area. Even when the train does stop their whistles at this crossing, some residents think the new bells at the crossing are just are bothersome.

As a result, a number of residents have begun a discussion around whether the unrelenting noise, whistles, bells and screeching of metal on metal form the rail companies is not in fact a negative impact of one’s mental health? The QCB has learned there are several Quay residents eager to pursue this line of thought and are in the process of asking for a study to be done on the impact to residents’ mental health.

Over the last year, rail issues have boiled to the surface again with more complaints being registered with the QCB and city hall. We encourage you to contact railnoise@quaysideboard.com to access those politicians who are able and responsible for rail matters.

Meanwhile, if you are frustrated by the many rail issues, please contact the following:

MENTAL HEALTH: MLA: Hon. Judy Darcy | Minister of Mental Health and Addictions | judy.darcy.MLA@leg.bc.ca

Long time supporter of Quay Residents’ fight again rail noise: MP NDP Peter Julian | peter.julian@parl.gc.ca

CITY COUNCILOR & RAIL CHAIR: Chuck Puchmayr cpuchmayr@newwestcity.ca

[BACKGROUND] The rail issue is an on-going issue for Quay residents. While it is true that the rail has been in this area since 1886, it is also true that in 133 years they have done little to change or accommodate the city approved development of the Quay as a residential area. Until the early 2000’s, only one train a day went through the cherished Quay community, which was easily tolerated as most were working when the trains went through. Clearly, this is not the case today, as rail operations now go 24/7 with little relief to be had.

The Quay is well aware that solutions to rail noise can be resolved if the corporate and political will to do so exists. One only has to recall June 2011 when a barge hit the rail bridge linking the Quay with Queensborough, resulting in its complete shut down for months. Rail companies were forced to use alternative routes to transport their goods, leaving the Quay to experience peace and quiet for the first time in a long while.