White Rock resident Jack Witek inspects a seized gate at a railway crossing, across the street from Moby Dick restaurant, Monday morning. (Aaron Hinks photo)

White Rock railway gates a ‘death trap,’ resident says

Yellow metal gates appear to be damaged or completely seized

A concerned resident says the recently-installed yellow metal gates at White Rock rail crossings have sustained damage, and if urgent repairs are not made, a person could get trapped in the pathway of a train.

It appears that the weight of the gates has caused the hinges to bend or crack. While some of the gates still work, several have either completely seized or have been removed.

One of the yellow gates nearest to the White Rock Pier was off its hinges Monday morning, and was zip-tied to a nearby fence.

East Beach resident Jack Witek contacted Peace Arch News to express safety concerns with respect to the gates. He took issue with the seized gates, adding that they could limit a person’s ability to leave the railway tracks if the crossing arm were to come down.

“The situation is even worse if the yellow gate is not working because then it becomes a death trap,” Witek said.

Witek said he doesn’t know how the gates were damaged, but suspects that the hinges used cannot support the weight of the gate. Children playing on the gates may also be an issue, he said.

“This gate only swings one way, and it has a spring. It invites kids for some sort of ride, they step on it and then the gate swings back,” he said.

Of around six gates that a PAN reporter observed Monday, all were either broken or appeared to have a crack along the hinge.

The installation of the yellow gates was part of five rail safety-related projects on the Semiahmoo Peninsula in 2018-2019, partly funded by Transport Canada.

READ MORE: Safety upgrades to start on White Rock railway crossings

Monday morning, City of White Rock officials said that safety is a priority, and that they’ll be looking into the concerns that were raised. BNSF communications representative Gus Melonas told PAN that BNSF is also looking into the matter.

Transport Canada had not responded to a request for comment as of PAN’s press deadline Monday.

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White Rock resident Jack Witek inspects a seized gate at a railway crossing, across the street from Moby Dick restaurant, Monday morning. (Aaron Hinks photo)

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