Time for Facts graphic on the City of White Rock’s website. (City of White Rock image)

City won’t respond to ‘frivolous’ rumours

White Rock collected 17 rumours through first two months of initiative

The City of White Rock has received a number of rumours through its “Rumours and Misperceptions” fact check email address since its launch last June.

And while some of the reports are serious inquiries, others, however, appear to be satire in nature.

Since June, members of the public who have heard rumours that they “believe should be corrected” are asked, on the city’s website, to refer them to factcheck@whiterockcity.ca. Submissions are asked to include screenshots or links to social media posts; links to media articles, editorials and letters to the editor; and date and time and station of broadcast.

After submitting a freedom-of-information request for all emails received by the fact-check email address from June 20 to Aug. 20, Peace Arch News received 17 reports. All identifying details of those who submitted reports was redacted.

“Dear City Myth Busters,” one email, accompanied by a cartoon image from the Netflix original series, Bojack Horseman, begins.

“Thank you for setting up this site. I have many myths that I wanted to have professionally investigated and this seems to be a fantastic use of my tax dollars. My first rumor that I hope you can dispel is that Mayor Wayne Baldwin, is actually two children in a coat. I have attached the image that is circulating to support this rumor.”

Another rumour reporter, who wrote calling the fact-checker initiative “reminiscent of the Stalin era back (in) the days of the USSR,” writes rumour has it that “Council will approve a new White Rock Bylaw giving the Bylaw Officers sweeping powers to act as ‘rumour police.’”

In the same email, the writer adds that his family depends on White Rock’s water, and “I hope this new bold PR initiative launched by the City will serve to significantly improve the quality of water delivered to White Rock water users.”

The city’s chief administrative officer Dan Bottrill told PAN Wednesday that not all rumours submitted to the fact-check email address warrant the city’s response.

“We need to assess whether or not it’s misinformation that actually requires our attention or not, or if it’s just silly and frivolous and not serious so that it would create concern by our community,” he said.

“You can appreciate that there’s a vetting process to this and we’re going to be assessing each piece as it comes in.”

Although some correspondence were delivered with a sarcastic tone, most seemed to be serious questions, and several related to water issues and allegations against council.

“You still haven’t disclosed the details of the purchase of (Epcor water utility)! Why aren’t we hooking up to (Metro Vancouver) water? Isn’t it the cheaper solution,” someone asks.

Another writes: “I heard a rumour” that the city is now having to double up on both arsenic and manganese plants at the Oxford site, and that “Epcor wouldn’t even consider this as it is so cost prohibitive.”

Another resident, representing the White Rock Safe Water Alliance, alleges that Baldwin had been spreading a rumour that White Rock’s water exceeds Canadian drinking-water standards in all respects.

“Common sense will tell you that the Provincial and Federal Governments would not dole out $11.8 million of Public monies to White Rock so that White Rock can try to correct its troubled water situation if it was in fact true,” the email says.

Another rumour reporter raises a conflict-of-interest allegation against Coun. Helen Fathers in her role as market manager for White Rock Farmers’ Market.

“The city grants Fathers’ business the right to the space for free and then Fathers’ rents it to vendors and gets to keep the profits. From the Public Purse to Helen’s Purse so to speak,” the person writes.

Another resident reports a rumour that Coun. David Chesney is in conflict of interest over his relationship with the talent booking agency RockitBoy Entertainment.

“Is it true that as an employee of RockitBoy Entertainment, that Councillor Chesney has voted in favor of a $5 Million expenditure that features a new entertainment facility, the amphitheatre and the beach?” the person writes.

“Is this not a Conflict of Interest?”

So far, the city has responded to one rumour that was sent to the fact-check address and has posted three rumours that came to the city’s attention by other means.

Bottrill said the webpage isn’t just intended for rumours submitted by citizens.

“We do want that to occur, but if ourselves are aware of it and if we are aware that other people besides just the individual making this kind of allegation, more than that, we will consider it.”

FOI – Fact check by PAN editor on Scribd

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

Just Posted

Left, Rowena Leivo early on in her volunteer career with the South Surrey/White Rock Food Bank. Right, Leivo in the food bank Tuesday. (Contributed photos)
After 34 years, ‘The Boss’ retires from South Surrey Food Bank volunteer gig

Rowena Leivo, 90, spent a third of her life volunteering at the food bank

Do you have someone you would like to thank? Or maybe something to get off your chest? Email your rose or rotten tomato to edit@surreynowleader.com.
Roses and Rotten Tomatoes (Oct. 22, 2020)

Our weekly collection of compliments and complaints sent in by readers

Surrey RCMP cruisers outside a Newton townhouse Tuesday night. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
UPDATE: Toddler in hospital, woman dead following stabbings at Surrey townhouse

Police say two-year-old was among victims found at townhouse complex in the 12700-block of 66 Avenue

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Diamond School in Surrey reporting COVID-19 exposure

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

Matthew Campbell, director of the Fraser Valley Regional Food Bank, stands amongst a large amount of non-perishable food and household items being stored inside the Pacific Community Church. This year’s ‘Halloween For Hunger’ food drive, put on by students at Clayton Heights, will go to benefit the Fraser Valley Regional Food Bank. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Clayton Heights Secondary kicks off annual ‘Halloween for Hunger’ event

Students to collect much-needed items for food bank

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

In this file photo, snow is seen falling along the Coquihalla Highway. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Weather statement issued for Coquihalla, Hwy 3, as arctic front approaches

The early season snowfall expected to hit Fraser Valley, Friday, Oct. 23

Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

The website Chigoby is among eight scam online retailers that have been identified by the Better Business Bureau. The site was fraudulently using an Abbotsford residential address, but has since switched to one in Poland.
8 scam online-shopping websites fraudulently use Abbotsford address

Better Business Bureau says victims lost hundreds for non-existent or poor-quality products

Most Read