White Rock will take another look at trimming the Marine Drive ‘hump’, following a delegation by two residents.
On Monday night (Feb. 28) council unanimously approved a motion from Coun. Christopher Trevelyan that staff report on “the feasibility of bringing maintenance of the ‘hump’ greenery to pre-2019 levels, including compliance to new policies in place, as well as budget implications.”
Shelly Mare and Kerry Wray appeared before council to ask whether regular maintenance of overgrown foliage and sapling shoots could be continued in the area.
“We are not advocating a clear cut (as) occurred years ago, in 2015,” Mare noted. “We like greenery, but this foliage that is obstructing ocean and pier views is not in the right place for our ‘city by the sea.’”
She said previous service levels were provided by the city to curtail the overgrowth of foliage impeding views along Marine Drive between the top of the hump and the pier.
“Four years ago, city services included annual pruning of the blackberry bushes and sapling shoots,” she said, noting that they had previously presented on the issue before council in 2019.
“The sapling shoots continue to grow at a rapid pace, and are now 20 feet high.”
She said that a report at that time from city engineering and operations manager Jim Gordon had recommended pruning of brambles and growth from tree stumps and the usual midsummer mowing program to clear multiple viewing corridors, maintain slope stability, and create a tidy appearance throughout the year.
Council only authorized “weed-eating the bramble bushes,” however, she said.
Summer tourism, year-round visitors and annual special events on Marine Drive all demand some clear views of the ocean and the pier, she suggested.
In response to questions from Coun. David Chesney, Gordon told council that “the plan a few years ago was to trim the shoots every two or three years, therefore not completely kill the stump – you want to keep the stumps alive for slope stability.
“Right now those shoots are very thick,” he added. “We would not be able to prune them now – it would be a major operation to take them off.”
“It’s a tough issue because there was a clear-cutting a number of years ago,” Trevelyan commented.
“It was a big issue – people see that White Rock values trees, but it’s also a community that values views as well, and when you do have benches along Marine Drive, on the ‘hump’ designed for a view, and you sit on (one) and see bushes right in front of you, to me, that’s a bit of an issue.”
“It will be a study,” Mayor Darryl Walker told Mare and Wray.
“We will be looking at it – there are a lot of ramifications, but, nonetheless I think we’ve heard you loud and clear.”