LETTERS: Cities of first impressions

Recent arrivals to South Surrey and White Rock critique what they've found here.


I am an octogenarian and have been extremely fortunate in my lifetime to have travelled the world, both at work and for pleasure.

A little over two months ago, my wife and I decided to live in White Rock, as it seemed to be the nearest place in Canada to a small English town, which is the country we were both born, and also to be closer to some of our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

During our younger days, we experienced, as well as cultures, many different rules and regulations.

Since coming to White Rock, we have found in our short residency the people to be extremely helpful, but reading the two local newspapers every week, none of the countries we have lived or travelled in have had so many rules and regulations.

The newspapers are full of rules telling taxpayers what we cannot do.

I am totally bemused and wonder how these rules ever came about. Do not the taxpayers have any say? Or is it run, as in Russia and her satellite countries, with the residents having no say in their own city as to what they can or cannot do?

What would take up much less space is to tell me what I am allowed to do, instead of the opposite.

Before I sign off, there is one rule I must mention. Dogs are not allowed, even on leash, to walk with their minder along the beautiful seafront walk or beach.

The countries my family has lived in include my country of birth, Portugal, Spain and Turkey. All have nice soft, sandy beaches and all allow dogs to run around wherever they wish. Every night, during the hours of darkness, manpower and machines work, cleaning garbage left by visitors and any “mess” left by dogs and horses. By morning, the beaches are 100 per cent clean.

I also have visited Carmel, Calif. a couple of times. It has about a kilometre of white soft sand, and dogs are allowed to play on that beach without any supervision.

I was shocked when I saw the “beach” in White Rock. Although it is obviously of great attraction to nearby cities, the small areas of beach are very dark and look more like mud flats than sand. Not exactly what one would call pristine.

Whilst I realize there are probably many people living in the area who don’t like dogs, or any animals for that matter, I have met and/or seen hundreds of people who do own dogs, all of whom pay taxes to the City of White Rock, the same taxes as those who don’t own a dog.

In most civilized countries, plastic bags are attached to drums, usually placed about 100 metres apart, and dog owners take one to clean up any “mess” and dispose of the bag.

One of my granddaughters, who lives in Sardis, tells me that along a river through their city, there are containers and disposable bags.

I’m quite sure people would do the same here. I’m also sure this would allow all taxpayers – both with and without pets – to walk along this pathway, and would be much cheaper than these dog-control people and their nice City of White Rock vans. My wife and I found when walking along the sea walk – not realizing dogs are not allowed, even though on a leash with “doggy bags” tied to the end – that one or two of them are quite arrogant and rude to people.

James Taylor, White Rock

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After living for the past 12 years in a condo in Vancouver, I have recently moved with my family to South Surrey, as my second son was born and we needed more space.

Our immediate neighbourhood is full of young families and has been really wonderful – which makes some of my experiences in my new community so disappointing!

My husband works long hours, and we sometimes need to go grocery shopping, or for a walk, on our own.

When people see a mother with two kids out alone, even if they can’t summon the courtesy to hold open a door or kindly ignore an exuberant five-year-old, I really wish they would: not honk at us when you have to wait to pass us on a crowded road without sidewalks; not call me a name in front of my kids, when I call at you to slow down when you speed by, inches from my child walking his bike and I’m scared for our safety; and not call me a “piece of work” when you see us in the grocery store parking lot trying to navigate and stay safe with stroller, rolling basket of groceries and moving vehicles.

There aren’t crosswalks along every inch to my car when all the parent spots are full. You saw us from 20 feet away. Did you expect me to apologize for our presence as I passed you?

I’m doing the best I can each moment, just as every mother is.

There are so many lovely people here, but these kinds of experiences are really hurtful when I’m trying to do my best to keep my kids safe and participate in this community. I never had this happen in the ‘big city.’

When I talk to other mothers, these experiences are common! What is wrong with people? Young and old alike, we need to collect ourselves and remember basic manners, and maybe even show a little bit of kindness to others.

Our kids are watching. What kind of behaviour are you modeling? You might slow down yourself one day and they’ll have to wait for you.

Cheryl Wilson, Surrey

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Re: Superstore set for 2015, June 10.

Thank goodness competition is coming!

As a new resident of White Rock, I am truly shocked by the price of groceries in the area – 30-50 per cent higher than in Metrotown.

I still commute so have options as well as a Nexus pass. Pity the seniors with no grocery-shopping options that are being ripped off.

Don MacKay, White Rock