COLUMN: We should branch out and focus on real issues

few years ago, when I bought my first condo, I only waited three weeks to start complaining.

The strata’s fines – for everything from pets to parking to noise – were ridiculously high, I thought, and though I had not been guilty of breaking any of said rules, I felt it necessary to voice my opinion.

No doubt, part of the reason I only waited as long as I did is because, simply put, I’m a bit of a grump. Ask around – I love nothing more than complaining.

But more than that, I felt I had a legitimate beef. Other longer-serving members of the strata agreed with me on some issues, and not on others, but either way, my concerns – aired publicly and politely, of course – were met with eager ears and a reasonable response.

Good thing I didn’t live in White Rock, where apparently two years is the minimum time one must put in before being allowed to complain.

I refer, of course, to proposed changes to the City of White Rock’s tree-cutting bylaw 611, which is more convoluted than it needs to be but, if I understand it correctly, boils down to this:

Thou shalt not ask the city to cut down or prune a public tree that’s blocking your view, unless you were there first, or you liked the view better before – or you’ve been there two years, or the tree has been there two years…

Or something like that. Sorry, I’m a little confused.

And if it’s a “new” view – new being a relative term, of course, because the topography of the area hasn’t changed too much since the earth cooled – well, good luck, pal; enjoy your partial view between tree branches, which technically becomes new again every spring when the leaves return.

And no matter the details, I’m not sure what is more shocking to me. That thus far the proposal has been met with little resistance – or even someone to point out how arbitrary and ridiculous it all seems – or that city advisors came up with such parameters in the first place?

White Rock city staff and council members have spent so much time dealing with the issue – and we, the media, so much time reporting on it – perhaps it’s been blown up so much that we’ve tricked ourselves into thinking it is of some greater concern.

Now, I’m not anti-tree, or pro-development, or even pro-view. My dad’s an abourist, so I grew up with a pretty healthy appreciation for nature.

But it’s just trees, folks. Trees affecting an incredibly small portion of the area’s demographic – those who either live beside trees on large plots of land, or who own million-dollar houses on the bluff.

It’s what Twitter users would quickly tag as #richpeopleproblems.

Surely, there are bigger issues. Or at least, simpler solutions.

It’s when dealing with the latter that I’m reminded of some advice I once received from a service technician at the car dealership where I worked in high school, after I came to him with yet another complicated solution to a simple problem.

“Quit thinking, you’re hurting the team,” he told me.

Pretty good idea, no? And he wasn’t even the mayor.

Now, I don’t have a solution, simple or otherwise, but then again, perhaps I’m not fit to speak on the subject of views. After all, the sightlines from my house aren’t exactly of a lottery-home calibre.

If I look out my back window, I can see my garage, and more houses. Out the front, an old farmhouse, but if I crane my neck just so, I can almost see Costco.

But even if I could see the ocean from my front door, I don’t know what difference my opinion would make.

I’ve only lived there nine months.

Nick Greenizan writes for the Peace Arch News.


Just Posted

Surrey Mayor delivering “virtual” State of the City Address on Tuesday. (Screen shot)
Surrey Mayor says city is ‘earning accolades from near and far’

Doug McCallum delivered his second State of the City Address on Tuesday since being elected in 2018

North Surrey Sport and Ice Complex. (Photo:
North Surrey rink, Newton playground earn B.C. excellence awards

Awards presented by BC Recreation and Parks Association

The George Massey Tunnel will be closed overnight May 28 and 29 to test the tunnel’s fire suppression system and overhead lane control signals. (Black Press Media file photo)
Overnight Massey Tunnel closures coming May 28, 29

Closure to allow safe testing of tunnel’s fire suppression system and overhead lane control signals

Missing Surrey man Bernard Grempel. (Photo: Surrey RCMP)
Surrey RCMP seeks help to find missing man

Bernard Grempel was reported missing on Sunday and hasn’t been seen since Friday

Members of Whalley Legion Junior Band at an event in the early 1980s. (Facebook photo)
SURREY NOW & THEN: When the city’s ‘official band’ marched with Whalley Legion title

A weekly look back at Surrey-area landmark sites, events and people

Troy Patterson, a Cadboro Bay 15-year-old, got a virtual meeting with B.C.’s environment minister months after he started an online petition calling for construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline to stop. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
B.C. teen’s 23,000-name Coastal GasLink petition gets him an audience with the minister

15-year-old Saanich high school student and George Heyman discussed project for about 30 minutes

Announced Tuesday, May 18 by Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, the province added gyms, dance and fitness studios to its list of places where face coverings are mandatory (AP/Steven Senne)
Masks now required at all times inside B.C. gyms, including during workouts

Those who disobey could be subject to a $230 fine

Reinhard “Bud” Loewen of Abbotsford has now been charged with 21 counts of sexual assault related to his massage business. (Facebook photo)
Former Abbotsford masseur now faces 21 counts of sexual assault

Bud Loewen of Bud’s Massage Therapy initally faced three charges

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

Over the years, police have worked with sketch artists to draw what the boys could have looked like at the times of their deaths. (Vancouver Police Department)
DNA breakthrough expected in cold case involving murdered Vancouver boys, 7 and 8

Forensic analysts are working to identify relatives of the children, whose bodies were found in Stanley Park in 1953

Livestock competitions have been part of the Pacific National Exhibiton for more than a century. (Maple Ridge News files)
B.C. provides $50 million to keep major tourist attractions going

Tour bus companies also eligible for latest COVID-19 aid

Dr. Euiseok Kim is the medical director of the new Abbotsford post-COVID-19 recovery clinic. (Submitted)
Post-COVID-19 recovery clinic opens in Abbotsford

New facility following model of first clinic which opened in Surrey

Derek Descoteau with his trusty dog Harvey. (Photo submitted)
Friends provide continuing comfort for family in wake of unresolved senseless B.C. murder

Case remains before the courts five years after Derek Descoteau’s abrupt stabbing death in Chemainus

Most Read