Crews

Crews

White Rock ‘eagle trees’ to be toppled for public safety

Four city trees that were the subject of an impassioned appeal to White Rock council Monday are to be cut down today.

Four city trees that were the subject of an impassioned appeal to White Rock council Monday are to be cut down today, after a deal to save them could not be reached with a Victoria Avenue property owner.

Greg St. Louis, the city’s director of engineering and municipal operations, confirmed just before 3 p.m. that the city had agreed to remove the Douglas firs, in the interest of public safety.

“We couldn’t come up with an agreement with the owner of the property and the roots are very significant that are extending into his property,” St. Louis said. “We tried to do everything we could to save the trees, however, he wants to go in there to cut the roots, which would make the trees unstable and we can’t have that.”

Work to remove the trees is expected to get underway this afternoon.

The property owner undertook exploratory digging at the 15265 Victoria Ave. site Friday morning. The trees in question are on city land abutting the property line, and were the subject of a resident’s appeal to council last week.

Sandy McNamee, who lives next door to the development site, asked the city to “explore and exhaust every option (to preserve the trees).”

They are important eagle habitat, she said.

Eagles perchAs the exploratory digging got underway – closely monitored by the city’s arborist and operations manager, along with a handful of Peninsula residents and police – three eagles could be seen swooping and diving in the skies nearby; at least two others were perched in Douglas firs located on Marine Drive.

While council last week had encouraged staff to try and negotiate with the property owner – even offer compensation – to save the trees, St. Louis said those talks had “fallen through.”

“He’s not willing to talk. It’s within his right to do,” he said.

A man identified as the owner would not talk to a PAN reporter at the site Friday morning.

Coun. Larry Robinson said the property owner told him that city and neighbourhood concerns hadn’t been ignored.

“He says he considered everything, he knows about the sensitivity and he tried to look for a way out of it,” Robinson said. “Short of using only half of the lot, there was nothing else he could do.

“He knows we’re prepared to give him compensation.”

Coun. Helen Fathers – who became emotional over the matter following a May 13 delegation by McNamee – said she believes the property owner’s mind was made up from the beginning.

“You can sit at the table all you want, but if you’re not open to ideas or suggestions…

“It’s a shame,” she said.

Following news the trees would be cut, a distraught Fathers described the outcome as “really sad.”

St. Louis said while site excavation for a foundation cannot yet be done, as a building permit has not been issued, there is nothing to stop the property owner from cutting any of the roots that extend into his property. When he made it clear that is what would happen, for safety reasons, the city had no choice, St. Louis said.

“Unfortunately, it’s for public safety. We can’t have the trees with half its roots off. The trees will basically fall over.”

At least one area resident who contacted PAN Thursday said support for the trees’ removal is stronger than has been portrayed.

John De Valois, who lives on Columbia Avenue, said a petition he started to help voice that support to city hall bears the signatures of about eight area residents. He also planned to advise officials that he will hold the city liable for any damage that may result from the trees being allowed to remain.

“We’re concerned about those trees blowing down on our property,” he said.

De Valois also disputed that the trees are eagle habitat, and described the effort to save them as “a one-person crusade.”

Prior to news that the trees would come down, McNamee said she would be happy if even one of the trees was saved. She added it was “a really big deal” that city officials got on board.

 

Just Posted

A mixed-use development with 69 market rental units and 10 commercial units is proposed for the 2300-block of King George Boulevard. (Thinkspace rendering)
Pair of South Surrey apartment proposals move forward

Council gives third reading to rezoning applications for market-rental and residential projects

Launched in January, Uplift Canada was founded by Tsawwassen resident Maggie Larocque. (submitted photo)
Surrey shelters get clothing collected June 26 by Uplift Canada

Book a pickup on website of the new non-profit, founded by Delta resident

Converter thefts have increased dramatically as the price of platinum has skyrocketed. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press photo)
Catalytic converter thefts continue to plague Delta

Police say the thefts are on the rise across the city, with seven incidents on Thursday, June 17

TEASER PHOTO ONLY
‘Stay-at-home mom’ works to raise $25K to help Options build housing in Surrey

Tammy Bourelle boosts ‘Women of Options’ fundraising campaign, which ends June 30

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Most Read