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

Date set for ‘demolition event party’ at Surrey’s Flamingo Hotel

Mayor McCallum to raise excavator bucket for the ‘ceremonial hit’ on the long-standing building

‘Chest Air’ show in Surrey for storyteller/author Ivan Coyote, prior to city’s Pride festival

‘I want to stop the gerbil wheel a little bit,’ says award-winning artist, who has moved back to Yukon

VIDEO: Life-threatening injuries in South Surrey motorcycle crash

Air ambulance dispatched following incident at 148 Street and 30 Avenue Monday

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Ladner church’s Pride flag defaced for second time in 12 days

Ladner United Church says it will continue to fly the flag for Pride month

PHOTOS: Elusive ‘ghost whale’ surfaces near Campbell River

Ecotourism operator captures images of the rare white orca

Dash-cam video in trial of accused cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Dinosaur statues from defunct Dinotown theme park stolen in Chilliwack

The dinosaur figures once graced the theme park but were destined for Chilliwack fundraiser

Langley’s oldest and last strip bar shuts its doors

The Alder Inn, in operation since 1957, has reportedly been purchased

Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

The hatchery has lost close to 150 fish in the past several months

Update: Two shot, two arrested at Toronto Raptors victory rally

The team and several dignitaries, including Justin Trudeau, remained on stage

Oil and gas sector cautious as deadline on Trans Mountain decision nears

Trudeau government expected to announce whether it will approve pipeline for second time on Tuesday

Most Read