Alex Browne photo Two mature eagle trees on Oxford Street, just south of Prospect Avenue, were felled Thursday at the instructions of City of White Rock staff, who said the work was necessary because they had become hazardous.

‘Eagle trees’ on White Rock’s Oxford Street felled Thursday

Councillor says city staff should have given more notice of plan

White Rock Coun. Scott Kristjanson said it’s “inexcusable” and “shameful” that city staff issued instructions to fell two mature trees on Oxford Street without advance warning to council members.

The two trees, just south of Prospect Avenue, were taken down Thursday by a private contractor working on behalf of the city.

Kristjanson said he was notified by email from operations manager Jim Gordon at 10 a.m. Thursday that the trees – which he referred to as “eagle trees” – were to be removed.

“I got down here five minutes later,” he told Peace Arch News, as he stood watching the work being done.

In talking to neighbours, he discovered that work had been going on since around 9 a.m., and that the tops of the trees had been removed shortly after that.

“There may be reasons for such work to be done – but we should have been in the loop,” he said.

“We’re the ones who end up wearing this,” he added.

“Staff is well aware that one of our strategic positions is protecting the environment, that that is one of the platforms on which we were elected. But council members weren’t notified and the mayor wasn’t notified. Staff may not want us involved in operations matters, but it’s unacceptable for a council not to be involved in the governance of this city.”

Kristjanson said the justification offered by Gordon is that the trees were unhealthy and posed a hazard.

He said he had spoken to one resident who had complained to the city that falling needles from the Douglas firs had the potential to cause damage. But another neighbour he spoke to said she had mixed feelings about the removal of the trees – while it improved her view, she had enjoyed watching eagles perching in them.

Kristjanson said he also learned the safety of the trees had been a subject of discussion for a decade prior to their removal.

READ MORE: Tree clearing in uptown White Rock surprises, angers

READ MORE: White Rock will not remove second Empress tree at Memorial Park

“Why, if this has been going on for 10 years, do they suddenly have to be taken down today?” Kristjanson asked. “And why couldn’t it have waited 24 hours, at least, until council were informed?”

Kristjanson praised the competence and responsibility of the contractors, who said that a crow’s nest had been removed from the trees, but that they did not contain any eagles’ nests.

He said that, while the top sections of the trees may have been compromised, the lower portions of the trees, which were also removed, appeared to be “super healthy.”

“The bottom 60 feet should have been preserved as a place for eagles to nest, he said.

The councillor – who has advocated the city plant flowers to beautify hillside walkways – said he believes the tree sections hauled away represent lumber worth $40,000, although he did not know whether that value would be recouped by the city.

“If that’s $40,000 revenue, that’s money that should go toward planting some flowers,” he said.



alexbrowne@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Alex Browne photo Two mature eagle trees on Oxford Street, just south of Prospect Avenue, were felled Thursday at the instructions of City of White Rock staff, who said the work was necessary because they had become hazardous.

Just Posted

VIDEO: 5X Festival takes over Surrey’s Central City plaza

Second annual event draws thousands of people throughout the day

VIDEO: Plane makes forced landing on Highway 17 in Surrey

Police say no one was injured and no damage to aircraft or vehicles

City shifts proposed transit station to King George after cancellation of LRT

Council to consider Newton Town Centre plan in fall

Nearly 200 motorcycles take off from Cloverdale for Brenden’s Ride

Annual fundraiser supports programs that empower people with disabilities

Charges of assault with a weapon and uttering threats approved against Delta man

Wyatt James Culbertson, 38, faces nine charges stemming from events that took place March 17 and 30

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Pride flag taken down by Township of Langley

Woman said she was told it was removed from her front yard because of a complaint

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

Most Read