Monday, March 11, 2013


Seniors' News

Just 50 Miles East

Rail can help reduce air pollution in the Upper Fraser Valley

Submitted by Myrtle Macdonald, Chwk


ack Barnhardt complained about air inversion in the winter in five Utah cities.


He said: "I am not talking about vehicle emissions, I am talking about industrial exhaust to kitchen exhaust that pump tons of particles & gases in the air. If we (the entire world) took a vacation and stayed home for one week we would change the environment we are in for the good and we all know that this will never happen!"

I agree somewhat with Mack Barnhardt about inversion of air quality during the winter. The problem is very serious in the upper Fraser Valley from Abbottsford, through Chilliwack and Hope. We have smog that hides our beautiful mountain scenery all year round and especially in the winter.


Most people suffer from either dry or runny eyes, continual colds, mucus in their throats, headaches, sinusitis and coughs. Because the eustachian tube leading from throat to middle ear becomes irritated and blocked we have hearing loss and dizziness. Asthma is on the increase. These symptoms cause our hearts to work harder and start to give up (congestive heart failure).

The pollution comes from the lower mainland especially from Seattle, Tacoma, Bellingham, Hanford (nuclear waste) and metro Vancouver. Their fine particulates are funneled up to us. According to a Trinity Western professor, there even are asbestos fibres floating in the air, from natural run off.

Near the Pacific ocean the air quality is much better because the winds blow the pollution eastward. Therefore city folk are unaware of the massive problem just 50 to 100 miles east. There are few stations to test air quality, especially in the upper Fraser valley. The stations do not test for the finest particulates. Please advocate for more and better air quality testing and follow-up.

Because the scenery is misty and traffic is heavy, it is no longer a joy to be a tourist in this exceptionally beautiful Fraser Valley. It is rush hour night and day all year round, with the majority of vehicles SUVs and long distance huge trucks.

I belong to a movement called "Rail for the Valley". The Interurban Railway carried passenger trains for over 40 years, but when cars and gas became cheap in 1950 passenger service stopped. The Southern Railway still uses that line for a vast amount of freight from Chilliwack to the Pacific ocean ports in New Westminster (part of Metro Vancouver). It connects at the US border (Huntington/Sumas) with freight from all over the USA on the Santa Fe and Union Pacific, to ship raw materials to China and bring back manufactured goods. At Chilliwack it adds container vehicles from the rest of Canada, mostly potash and wheat and returns with cheap goods for sale in Walmart, Cosco, etc.

Rail traffic produces much less carbon than truck traffic does. Some of the mayors south of Vancouver want frequent passenger service on the old interurban line, and some also want new branch lines. Most people have to drive to work. They want the carbon tax and gas tax paid by everyone, to be used for light railway cum trams, rather than for sky trains and larger port facilities. The provincial and the Metro Vancouver government seem to be controlled by other interests. Modern trams can run on busy broad railway lines. They do in Europe and in a growing number of places in America.

There are six university campuses on the old interurban line. Students and staff commute by car. There is a population of one million south of the Fraser river from Chilliwack to Surrey-Delta. Many people commute too work, mostly south of the river.


The pollution we pay governments to have the opportunity to cause poor air quality warnings.

Industrial Pollution see here.
Kitchen Exhaust Pollution see the pdf file here.

About Myrtle Macdonald

Myrtle Macdonald has an MSc Applied in Nursing and Research from McGill University, Montreal. Her Minor is in the Social Sciences (Anthropology and Psycho-Sociology).

She has worked in many hospital, nursing education and community health roles in six provinces of Canada and four countries overseas.

She is 91 years of age and is still active in:

Mental Health Advisory Committee,
BC Schizophrenia Society,
Rail for the Valley
Ecologic-BC (environmental issues)
singing in the choir at St. Thomas Anglican Church.

Currently, Myrtle is nearing completion of her book called People Migrations in Europe and America; 2000 Years of Nation-Building.

"It is almost ready for publishing. It is background work for family genealogy search, and it accurately brings together a lot of significant history ignored in high school and university textbooks," wrote Macdonald


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