The pending removal of two dozen trees from White Rock’s Maccaud Park is a “real shame,” one area resident says.
“It’s just going to be decimated,” said Dave Allen, who has lived near the Kent Street park since 1990 and walks his black lab-border collie cross, Dexter, there daily. “It’s one of the last real kind of green spaces we have in White Rock.”
The ill-fated alders, each of them tagged with red spray paint, are to be removed this week, a city official confirmed. They were identified as hazardous last month, along with two maples on Victoria Avenue and a dead spruce on Columbia Lane.
The sooner they are removed, the better, said Rob Thompson, the city’s director of engineering and municipal operations.
“The words to emphasize are ‘extreme hazard risk,’” Thompson said. “Once I’ve been informed… I’m obligated to move on it as soon as possible and protect the people that use the park.
“This is an emergency response.”
The park – which stretches from North Bluff Road to Thrift Avenue – is popular among Earl Marriott Secondary students who frequent it before and after school, as well as on their lunch break.
Thompson said he and the city’s arbourist make regular visits to the park and have become increasingly concerned with the state of its alders in recent weeks. He is no stranger to what can happen if such hazards aren’t addressed.
“A cousin of mine, he was killed by a tree falling and crushing him when he was almost 10 years old,” he said. “I don’t want to be responsible for that impact on a family for anybody that uses the park.”
It will cost $3,000-$5,000 for all 27 trees to come out – a small price to pay for public safety, Thompson said, noting a public process anticipated to begin in late spring will help determine the park’s future.
Allen said he is concerned the park will be left “a wasteland.”
But Thompson is hopeful the community will want it to remain “an active park of some nature.”