EDITORIAL: Hillside viewpoint

White Rock council’s decision to clear foliage on ‘the hump’ has caught some residents by surprise.

White Rock council’s decision to clear the foliage on ‘the hump’ – the unfortunately nicknamed hillside area overlooking the city’s namesake – certainly caught a number of residents off-guard earlier this month.

No public debate, no real declaration of intent, simply listed as “vegetation improvements” and plans to “upgrade Hump retaining walls” in the city’s 2014 to 2018 draft financial plan, it would be interesting to hear if elected officials assumed the public fully understood their intentions.

It seems most only took notice of the city’s plans – described by many as “clearcutting,” though city staff contest that term – after work was underway.

Some describe it as tragic; others describe it in glowing terms.

Certainly, the biggest winners will be those who own property just north of Marine Drive, which will gain views from the waterfront clear, on a good day, to the San Juan Islands.

The losers will be those who prefer the more natural terrain, whether for aesthetic reasons or because they put more value in the wildlife who make ‘the hump’ their home.

Predictably, there are those who will argue that the hillside, without the previously existing vegetation, will be on the verge of collapse. To the layman, that argument seems specious, given the responsibility we place on others to keep us safe. And not just civic officials ensure our safety; there are provincial and federal regulations that we must rely on, as well as the owners of the land in question, BNSF Railway, as well as Transport Canada, which oversees train safety.

That a city notice posted online May 4 maintains “slope stability” is a prime reason for the work, however, seems equally suspect. If that had been an issue, surely residents could have expected such conversation to dominate an open discussion of city council.

Instead, the public, once again, learns of city plans piecemeal, as though any meaningful discussions were held out of earshot.

Regardless of which side of the argument one finds oneself – pro-view or pro-rugged terrain – certainly all sides would agree it’s incumbent on city leaders to be upfront and communicative in their decision.

And on this front, they’ve come up short.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey monitoring traffic as vehicles again clog city streets

Compared with city’s 2019 weekly average, deepest volume reduction was in late March with up to 46 per cent less vehicles

Refund emails from City of White Rock a ‘phishing’ scam

IT staff work to nullify security breach in ‘classic phishing campaign’

Art’s Scarecrow Festival returns in September

Sixth annual event will be different than previous events because of the pandemic

Surrey’s top cop is keynote speaker at Surrey Board of Trade AGM

Asssistant Commissioner Brian Edwards will be on deck at Tuesday’s ‘virtual’ meeting

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

We were a bit tone deaf: Hobo Cannabis renamed Dutch Love after backlash

Hobo Cannabis has various locations in Vancouver, Kelowna and Ottawa

Most Read