City cuts trees, trims brush along Marine Drive hump

White Rock crews work to remove brush from along Marine Drive. - Sarah Massah photo
White Rock crews work to remove brush from along Marine Drive.
— image credit: Sarah Massah photo

Efforts to clear invasive vegetation and hazardous trees from White Rock’s Marine Drive “hump” are to restore view corridors and enable a stability check of the hillside retaining walls, officials say.

Director of engineering and municipal operations Greg St. Louis said this week the work got underway Monday, will be largely complete by the end of the week and has the necessary approval of land owner BNSF.

While St. Louis said the majority of comments from the public regarding the work have been positive, two people who contacted Peace Arch News were critical.

“They’re cutting down a lot of trees. It is a mess,” said Donna Andrews, who walks the area three to four times a week and is concerned about the slope’s stability.

“What’s going to eventually happen is that hillside is going to go right down.”

Sharon Keenan said she is concerned about the impact to birds that use the area, in particular, eagles that roost in one of the larger trees.

“They are hacking trees down and going in at least 16 feet,” Keenan said by email. “It looks disgusting. They are extremely close to the pine tree that the eagles nest in.”

St. Louis did not know how many trees are being removed but said significant trees will not be affected. Roots of removed trees will also be left so as not to jeopardize the slope’s stability.

Once blackberry bushes and other scrub brush is cleared, an engineer will assess the retaining walls, he said.

“We tried to look at them in the fall and we couldn’t even get in there,” he said.

St. Louis said planning for the work got underway “eight or nine months ago,” and that railings being removed to “get more reach” out of the machines will be restored.

The sidewalk will be closed for the duration of the work and traffic reduced to one lane, he added.

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