Flashinglights part of Boundary Bay’s future

Published on Thu, Mar 8, 2007 by eg Olson“We’regoing to change the way we mark the bay,” saidU.S. boundary commissioner Dennis Schornack.TheInternational Boundary Commission will be taking downthe towers on the Blaine and Point Roberts sides of BoundaryBay and replacing them with a line of yellow flashinglights. “Itwill not only be cheaper but there will be no questionin anybody’s mind which side of the border they’reon,” said U.S. Coast Guard commander John Barberi.Theboundary commission held two poorly attended publicmeetings, one in Point Roberts and one in Delta B.C,.at the end of February to outline why and how they willbe changing the way the border is marked.“It’santiquated equipment, the towers have been out theresince the ’30s,” Barberi said. Todaythere are four markers establishing where the borderlies as it crosses Boundary Bay: two on the Point Robertsand Tsawwassen side and two on the Blaine and WhiteRock side. Duringthe day someone out on the water can tell they are onthe border when they line up graphical “ranges” mountedon towers on and near the shore and at nightthey would line up pairs of lights.Boundary Bay weather often makes it impossibleto see across the bay, or even to see both markersin the set of range markings, according to thecommission.Theproposal is to replace the ranges with a series of flashingyellow lights across the bay, visible from three milesand located two miles apart.Theprimary change will be the addition of four three-leggedpiling structures in the center of the bay, mounted withyellow boards and flashing yellow lights. Onland the range towers, such as the 80-foot tower adjacentto the Peace Arch, will be eliminated and replaced withflashing yellow lights and boards at a height of 15 feet.Existingoffshore markers, such as the tower mounted on a concreteblock in Semiahmoo Bay, will be changed from fixed greenand white lights to flashing yellow.“It’llbe much more visible,” Schornacksaid. “It has to be obvious sothat people know where it is,” Canadiancommissioner Peter Sullivan said. Headded that a more visible borderwould help law enforcement with issues rangingfrom smuggling to fishery violations.Suchis the goal of the International Boundary Commission,one commissioner and a deputy appointed from boththe U.S. and Canada, working withengineers from both countries tokeep the 20-foot wide stripe of boundary “vista” “entirelyfree of obstruction and plainlymarked.”Throughtheir efforts, the commission website touts, the 5,525-milelong border between the U.S. and Canada is “tranquil,undefended but not uncared for.”Barberisaid another reason to replaceand remove some of the olderboundary structures is safety. “It’ssuch a safety hazard thecontractors won’t even climb on it,” hesaid, “Theold towers are a real eyesore,” Sullivanadded.Theproposed changes were advertised for 30 daysclosing November 24, 2006in the U.S. Coast GuardNotice to Mariners.Schornacksaid work on the project will startthis summer. With $180,000projected budget, Barberisaid the changes are cheaper than replacing them.

Read More News

Flashing lights part of Boundary Bay’s future

By Meg Olson “We’re going to change the way we mark the bay,” said U.S. boundary commissioner Dennis Schornack.The International Boundary Commission will be taking down the towers on the Blaine and Point Roberts sides of Boundary Bay and replacing them with a line of yellow flashing lights. “It will not only be cheaper but there will be no question in anybody’s mind which side of the border they’re on,” said U.S. Coast Guard commander John Barberi.The boundary commission held two poorly attended public meetings, one in Point Roberts and one in Delta B.C,. at the end of February to outline why and how they will be changing the way the border is marked.“It’s antiquated equipment, the towers have been out there since the ’30s,” Barberi said. Today there are four markers establishing where the border lies as it crosses Boundary Bay: two on the Point Roberts and Tsawwassen side and two on the Blaine and White Rock side. During the day someone out on the water can tell they are on the border when they line up graphical “ranges” mounted on towers on and near the shore and at night they would line up pairs of lights.
Boundary Bay weather often makes it impossible to see across the bay, or even to see both markers in the set of range markings, according to the commission.The proposal is to replace the ranges with a series of flashing yellow lights across the bay, visible from three miles and located two miles apart.The primary change will be the addition of four three-legged piling structures in the center of the bay, mounted with yellow boards and flashing yellow lights. On land the range towers, such as the 80-foot tower adjacent to the Peace Arch, will be eliminated and replaced with flashing yellow lights and boards at a height of 15 feet. Existing offshore markers, such as the tower mounted on a concrete block in Semiahmoo Bay, will be changed from fixed green and white lights to flashing yellow.“It’ll be much more visible,” Schornack said. “It has to be obvious so that people know where it is,” Canadian commissioner Peter Sullivan said. He added that a more visible border would help law enforcement with issues ranging from smuggling to fishery violations.Such is the goal of the International Boundary Commission, one commissioner and a deputy appointed from both the U.S. and Canada, working with engineers from both countries to keep the 20-foot wide stripe of boundary “vista” “entirely free of obstruction and plainly marked.”Through their efforts, the commission website touts, the 5,525-mile long border between the U.S. and Canada is “tranquil, undefended but not uncared for.”Barberi said another reason to replace and remove some of the older boundary structures is safety. “It’s such a safety hazard the contractors won’t even climb on it,” he said, “The old towers are a real eyesore,” Sullivan added.The proposed changes were advertised for 30 days closing November 24, 2006 in the U.S. Coast Guard Notice to Mariners.Schornack said work on the project will start this summer. With $180,000 projected budget, Barberi said the changes are cheaper than replacing them.

Barberi added work will be scheduled around “fish windows” to minimize environmental impacts.