Wednesday, August 03, 2011

 

Dead BC Rail Station

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Dead rail station near North Vancouver tourist hub draws fire

By Jeremy Shepherd
North Shore News - August 3, 2011

[Please click on "North Shore News" to see Cindy Goodman's graphic illustration of BC Rail's famous terminal today ... ]

A North Shore travel agent has dubbed North Vancouver’s defunct B.C. Rail station a tourist-scaring eyesore. Redevelopment has been held up for decontamination.

It used to be a B.C. Rail station, but now the brick building near McKeen Avenue and West First Street is abandoned, adorned with graffiti and strewn with garbage.

The defunct station may be removed in 2012, according to Metro Vancouver, a process that can't begin soon enough for one local resident who considers the spot an eyesore and a tourism liability.

"It is disgusting to drive by it; it is disgusting to even take people to get on the train," said North Shore travel agent Kare Brett.

In the course of her job, Brett said she regularly takes tourists to the nearby Rocky Mountaineer station.

"It is just shameful," she said of the dilapidated building. "It's no longer in use, so it sits there in shambles."

The site, which is surrounded by chain-link fence and a tarp, gives international tourists an ugly first impression of the North Shore, with many travellers unwilling to park their cars nearby, according to Brett.

"People from all around the world come and get on [the Rocky Mountaineer] and they look at that," she said.

The Mountaineer, however, isn't aware of any concerns, according to spokeswoman Nancy Dery. "We haven't had any complaints or any concerns," she said.

Metro Vancouver purchased the three-hectare site in 2008, announcing a plan to build a sewage treatment plant on the land by 2020.

After paying about $15 million for the property, Metro Vancouver quickly leased it back to B.C. Rail. The company cleaned up the contaminated land, as was required by law, and then handed back control to the region in March this year.

By that point, the building and land were already in poor condition, said Ken Stephens, acting manager of Metro Vancouver's property division.

Unless the building can be preserved, it will likely be disassembled, removed, and partially recycled in 2012, he said. Metro Vancouver will soon surround the site with chain-link fence and clean up the garbage to make way for the sewage plant.

The $400-million sewage facility is slated to replace the sewage plant located near the north end of Lions Gate Bridge.

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What do you think of this? 
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Gary E (How Bad is the Record?) says: 

... I remember the station well having grown up in North Van. It was actually quite pleasant. The Truck freight yard was fairly close by to the left of the station in this picture. I had friends that worked there and some have passed on.

But the piece I wanted to do on this if I had the photo was to ask if people were aware that the train no longer leaves this station and this is what we have to show for our Billion Dollars.

Here in the interior the biggest complaint about the sale is the fact that lumber manufacturers no longer have a choice of how to ship their product. Some even suggesting that the lack of (BC)Rail transport is part of the problem in failing businesses.

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Skookum1a adds:

Don't forget that the cost of this demolition and associated land-fiddling and cleanup and various losses are to be reckoned into the cost of having shut down regular passenger service years ago, and it's another cost to local tourism caused by the "get rid of the common folk and only sell the ride to rich folk" mentality that is the Rocky Mountaineer. If the station hadn't become abandoned, it would be in fine shape; and bringing people with ordinary travel budgets and communities along the line back into the now-blue-plate-only tourism railway trip through BC (but not stopping in it except at PG....).

The mentality of the travel agent is despicable. That building should be a  museum of the PGE, clearly enough, if even the Rocky Mountaineer or CN had any sense of the heritage relevance of the railway whose tracks they now use; but they don't, not even a little bit. And to me this smacks of someone wanting to extinguish the memory of "the people's railway", as WAC Bennett liked to call it, as I recall. of course, part of the reason the old service was done away with was so that the rich types in West Vancouvver wouldn't have riff-raff rolling through looking into their multimillion-dollar back yards.

It's always truck me that passenger service, if not from Pemberton Vae to Horseshoe Bay, then in the other direction, would make a lot of sense on the North Shore itself; whether to Dollarton, or to connect to Skytrain via the tunnel from Second Narrows to the Burnaby Valley; comes out somewhere around Brentwood. but like the idea of a station which interfaced with Seabus and the North Van buses at Londsdale Quay, that was too much to be considered by the powers that be; it might be a success and good heavens it won't be as saleable - giftable (=license to print money) - to our Rocky Mountaineer and CN buddies if all that's going in...BCR passenger service could have theoretically linked to Central Station, and also to the West Coast Express....like those ideas a station at Horseshoe Bay was out of the question, i.e .linking one Crown corporation's services (and schedules) was not cost-effective. What WAS, we're told, is further demolition and highway-building higher up those very same cliffs.

Trains are the future of transportation; in a province where the business elites obsessed with futurism, architecturally and otherwise, that they are intent on destroying passenger infrastructure, or confine it to elites (NB the Whistler Highway's budget far exceeds that serving any other community in the province, especially on a per capita basis....).

Ramblings from the farther shore....this thing about the station nauseates me; but so does so much else of what's going on in BC....my old hometown's getting torn down to make way for new condos...or I guess has been by now, come to think of it.... 



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Comments:
Hi BC Mary

I spotted this early this morning in the Province. I wanted to download the photo but there appears to be some kind of block on it.

I remember the station well having grown up in North Van. It was actually quite pleasant. The Truck freight yard was fairly close by to the left of the station in this picture. I had friends that worked there and some have passed on.

But the piece I wanted to do on this if I had the photo was to ask if people were aware that the train no longer leaves this station and this is what we have to show for our Billion Dollars.

Here in the interior the biggest complaint about the sale is the fact that lumber manufacturers no longer have a choice of how to ship their product. Some even suggesting that the lack of (BC)Rail transport is part of the problem in failing businesses.
 
Don't forgert that the cost of this demolition and assocaited land-fiddling and cleanup and various losses are to be reckoned into the cost of having shut down regular passenger service years ago, and it's another cost to local tourism caused by the "get rid of the common folk and only sell the ride to rich folk" mentality that is the Rocky Mountaineer. If t he station hadn't become abandoned, it would be in fine shape; and bringing people with ordinary travel budgets and communities along the line back into the now-blue-plate-only tourism railway trip through BC (but not stopping in it except at PG....).

The mentality of the travel agent is despicable. That building should be museum of the PGE, clearly enough, if even the Rocky Mountaineer or CN had any sense of the heritage relevance of the railway whose tracks they now use; but they don't, not even a little bit. And to me this smacks of someone wanting to extinguish the memory of "the people's railway", as WAC Bennett liked to call it, as I recall. of course, part of the reason the old service was done away with was so that the rich types in West Vancouvver wouldn't have riff-raff rolling through looking into their multimillion-dollar back yards.

It's always truck me that passenger service, if not from Pemberton Vae to Horseshoe Bay , then in the other direction, would make a lot of sense on the North Shore itself; whether to Dollarton, or to connect to Skytrain via the tunnel from Second Narrows to the Burnaby Valley; comes out somewhere around Brentwood. but like the idea of a station which interfaced with Seabus and the North Van buses at Londsdale Quay, that was too much to be considered by the powers that be; it might be a success and good heavens it won't be as saleable - giftable (=license to print money) - to our Rocky Mountaineer and CN buddies if all that's going in...BCR passenger service could have theoretically linked to Central Station, and also to the West Coast Express....like those ideas a station at Horseshoe Bay was out of the question, i.e .linking one Crown corporation's services (and schedules) was not cost-effective. What WAS, we're told, is further demolition and highway-building higher up those very same cliffs.

Trains are the future of transportation; in a province where the business elites obsessed with futurism, architecturally and otherwise, that they are intent on destroying passenger infrastructure, or confine it to elites (NB the Whistler Highway's budget far exceeds that serving any other community in the province, especially on a per capita basis....).

Ramblings from the farther shore....this thing about the station nauseates me; but so does so much else of what's going on in BC....my old hometown's getting torn down to make way for new condos...or I guess has been by now, come to think of it....
 
Campbell and Harper have pretty much thieved BC dry. Harper's plan of assimilating Canada into the U.S. No doubt there will be drastic changes.

So far BC has taken the hardest hit, because of our vast natural resources. Harper has already grabbed them. He has grand ideas of being a super power, a big shot. How many more times, Harper is going to embarrass Canadian's, Who in the hell knows.

And, here is Christy, who is going to lose out on the money from our vast resources. Campbell already has stolen the BCR and our rivers. BC owns none of our natural resources.

BC is a bombed out shell, courtesy of, the two partners in crime, Harper and Campbell.
 
Article in yesterday's Globe and Mail says the BC Rail scandal is far from resolved. What does Mr. Matas mean by that?

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/bc-politics/the-week-in-bc-politics/article2117132/
 
Hi Mary, I've started a petition calling for a public inquiry into the corrupt sale of BC Rail. I hope you and your readers will show your support by signing it.

Petition for a full Public Inquiry into the corrupt sale of BC Rail
 
Ole,

A full public inquiry into the sale of BC Rail has been at the top of this page for months now ...

Bill Tieleman is in charge of that on-line petition.

We've certainly been showing our support for a full inquiry for months now - since Oct. 18, 2010.

But you're absolutely correct: we must keep trying, keep asking, keep pressing home the point ... good luck!
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Goah, I'm sorry I can't find the link. I see that you have a link to Tieleman's blog, but when I click on that it takes me to his blog and there I can't find a link to his petition either. I'd gladly sign it if you could give me the link.
Thanks a lot, Mary!
 
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Note from Bill Tieleman:

If your commentator searches Facebook for Basi-Virk they will find it.
 
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