BNSF is investigating a report of illegal cutting on the White Rock bluff. (Alex Browne photo)

BNSF is investigating a report of illegal cutting on the White Rock bluff. (Alex Browne photo)

BNSF investigating ‘illegal’ cutting on White Rock hillside

Bylaw officers responded to 15000-block of Marine Drive on June 22

Burlington Northern Santa Fe is investigating after saplings on White Rock’s Marine Drive hillside were apparently trimmed without permission last weekend.

“It appears as if the cutting was illegal,” BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas confirmed to Peace Arch News Thursday.

The incident at issue occurred on June 22, in the 15000-block of the Marine Drive ‘Hump.’

A witness told PAN that residents “impatient with the City” went past the safety railing to tackle growth that was blocking views; in particular, saplings that had grown from stumps that were left behind when the hillside was clearcut in 2015.

READ MORE: Bluff clearcut catches many off guard

They “decided to cut a path down to these trees and cut them off with a gas powered trimmer,” Garry Wolgemuth said by email.

City of White Rock director of corporate administration Tracey Arthur confirmed Tuesday (June 25) that bylaw enforcement officers attended the area following a trespass complaint.

“They were concerned due to safety reasons of the public entering the area, it is a steep slope where in some areas there is a large drop,” Arthur told PAN by email.

Arthur noted the area is owned by BNSF and not leased by the City of White Rock, and therefore “the City has no jurisdiction as it is considered a private property matter.”

After a meeting with White Rock officials Wednesday, Melonas confirmed “BNSF is investigating.”