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.

Just Posted

Surrey to get 314 new child care spaces

These will be at 13 places throughout the city, Surrey-Newton MLA Harry Bains announced Wednesday

Autism support dog refused bus access for being a ‘pet’

White Rock grandmother files complaint with TransLink, calls for better awareness of service dogs

Former Canucks player from White Rock suing financial advisors for negligence

Jason Garrison claimed his advisors failed to take his circumstances into account

Parents, students asked to weigh in on Surrey school-catchment options

Consultation sessions for South Surrey, Clayton get underway next week

White Rock to ‘embark on a new direction’ for city’s management

Dan Bottrill has been the city’s chief administrative officer since 2012

VIDEO: Disney Plus gives Canadians a streaming platform that nearly matches U.S. version

The Walt Disney Company’s new subscription platform unveiled a comprehensive offering of nearly 500 films

What happens if Metro Vancouver bus drivers start a ‘good work’ strike?

Unifor has said they could get ‘creative’ with fare collection if transit strike drags on

Maple Ridge’s anti-panhandling bylaw gets final OK

Council votes 6-1 to ban aggressive begging

Nearly half of B.C. drivers nervous in winter conditions: BCAA

‘Wait and see’ approach common practice for 32% of B.C. motorists

Students plan rally at B.C. education minister’s office as district strike enters third week

Saanich School District students plan to rally outside Rob Fleming’s constituency office in Victoria

Sex assault charge stayed against Port Moody mayor

Rob Vagramov completed an alternative measures program, special prosecutor said

73% of B.C. residents agree with a temporary ban on vaping products: poll

54% say they would not date someone who vapes, Research Co. poll suggests

B.C.’s 13-cent gasoline gap still a mystery, Premier John Horgan says

NDP plans legislation this month, seeks action from Justin Trudeau

Group walking on thin ice at B.C. lake sparks warning from RCMP

At least seven people were spotted on Joffre Lakes, although the ice is not thick enough to be walked on

Most Read

l -->