Questions on the cost of vegetation clearing on the Marine Drive hillside were not allowed Monday.

White Rock chair challenged after clearing question nixed

Coun. Helen Fathers said she had 'no option' but to challenge the mayor.

Discussion regarding funding to replace the wooden retaining wall on White Rock’s Marine Drive hillside turned icy Monday, when one councillor was cut short by the mayor for asking a question he deemed irrelevant.

“I’m sorry, Coun. (Helen) Fathers, that’s not really got much to do with the retaining wall,” Mayor Wayne Baldwin said, when Fathers asked how much of $80,000 that had been budgeted for vegetation clearing in the area had been spent and if the work was complete.

“I’m not going to take that as a question.”

The funding at issue was the subject of a proposed amendment to the city’s financial plan – and among three discussed and ultimately approved during the special council meeting Monday – that would enable work initially budgeted for 2016-2017 to proceed this year.

It pulls $225,000 in funding for the work from general revenue ($50,000), a capital reserve ($125,000) and the capital contingency budget ($50,000).

Fathers disputed that her question was irrelevant, noting the vegetation management was done to enable access to the retaining wall.

Cut off by Baldwin a second time – to the audible disbelief of some in the gallery, which prompted Baldwin to caution former councillor Margaret Woods that if she couldn’t restrain herself, “she should leave” – Fathers said she had “no option” but to challenge the chair.

“… which I have never done, and I would like the answer to my question done.”

However, a motion by Coun. Lynne Sinclair to uphold the chair won out, with Fathers casting the sole opposing vote.

Baldwin later told Peace Arch News that the information Fathers was seeking was “off-topic and had no relationship to what was at task.”

As well, he said he suspected it was leading up to “re-discussing” the hillside-clearing issue – which has been a bone of contention among residents since early May – as a whole.

In response to earlier questions from the public, director of engineering Greg St. Louis told council that the retaining-wall project had initially been budgeted for 2016-2017, because “we didn’t believe we’d be able to get (property owner) Burlington’s approval.” That approval has since been received, he said.

St. Louis noted that a draft plan for the remaining hillside work has yet to be finalized, but will include the removal of some additional trees and brush to get to the retaining walls, “because they’re in a poor state and affecting the slope.”

Regarding an amendment to add a $1-million upgrade to Memorial Park/Spirit Square, Fathers and Coun. David Chesney were the only council members to oppose the expense.

Fathers said she couldn’t vote on something that council hasn’t even discussed.

“Council hasn’t even approved it in principle,” she said.

Told the situation was much like that with the Johnston Road improvement program – where funds were being allocated without a firm design in hand – Fathers disputed the comparison.

“The biggest difference is we’ve had conversations about the Johnston Road (project). I have no knowledge of the Spirit Square. That’s the problem.”

Chesney said he “doesn’t see the value” of an upgrade to Memorial Park, saying he would prefer to see Bayview Park in West Beach expanded.

Baldwin said the issue is not about approving the project itself.

“At this stage of the game, that project is approved. There’s no point in going back and talking about it,” he said.

Just Posted

New West mayor says Surrey won’t be left out in transit 10-year plan

Jonathan Cote one of two speakers at luncheon focusing on transportation, land use planning

UPDATE: Missing Surrey snowshoer found dead on Mt. Seymour

North Shore Rescue resumed its search today after efforts were temporarily halted Tuesday due to snowstorm

BREAKING: Woman, off-duty cop stabbed outside North Delta elementary school

The officer was intervening in an alleged assault outside of Immaculate Conception School when he and the woman were stabbed

Suspect charged after four Surrey banks were robbed in just four hours

Financial institutions in North Surrey targeted on Feb. 12

Surrey says WorkSafeBC should be in charge of asbestos abatement

City staff say WorkSafeBC has ‘greater knowledge, experience and expertise’ concerning asbestos

VIDEO: Massive elk herd runs across Washington State highway

Elk have been making an appearance in the Pacific Northwest

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

Winter storm freezes U.S., halts air travel

Storm dumps snow or heavy rain, snarls travel in much of U.S.

Gwyneth Paltrow: Skier sued me to exploit my fame, wealth

The incident happened in Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah

Highway one will be closed tomorrow for avalanche control near Golden

The closure is expected to last for two hours

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Man injured in police shooting near Nelson has died: B.C. police watchdog

The death follows an incident in Bonnington on Feb. 13

Most Read

l -->