A municipal improvement project cleared the wildflowers and berries from a Riverdale alley this week, dismaying some residents.
“It’s just so disappointing; we were all enjoying it, the beauty of midsummer lush green growth,” Chris McNutt told the Star Thursday.
McNutt is one of several Riverdale residents whose property borders the alley between Teslin and McQuesten roads.
In the summertime, the alley is lined with plant life, including raspberry bushes McNutt planted 10 years ago. He tends them every year and
invites his neighbours to pick the berries.
When McNutt took his dog out for a walk on Wednesday evening, he found his raspberry bushes had been removed, along with the rest of the
“It’s probably the best berry year ever, with all this rain and everything in full bloom; it’s just a shock,” McNutt said.
“I’ve lived here 14 years and I’ve never seen them come along and do this.”
Jen Laliberté, whose house also borders the alley, said she heard city staff clearing the plants from her home office on Wednesday morning.
“I was like, ‘What are you doing?’” Laliberté said.
The plant growth provided ground cover for robins and nutrients for bees, she pointed out, as well as absorbing dust, water and noise in the
There were some invasive plants, like white clover, growing in the alley that were problematic. Some of the white clover plants were the only ones to survive the clearing work, Laliberté said.
“You’ve left the invasive plants that are heavily problematic while cutting down massive stands of fireweed,” Laliberté said.
Brenda Buren said the alley provides a community hub for residents, many of whom walk along the “alley loop” every day.
“We see everybody, we all walk by here all the time and talk,” Buren said.
“Yes, it’s city property, we know this; it’s not ours … but I wish there was some notice given, we should have been asked.”
The alley was cleared because the city is preparing to upgrade it, according to Jim West, the acting supervisor of city operations.
“We’re eventually going to send in graders to smooth them and make them passable,” West told the Star Thursday.
Several alleys in Whitehorse have been subject to the same clearing procedure, he added.
“We’ve had lots of complaints about alleys being like jungles, cats and dogs hiding in the tall grass and jumping out, people complaining that
they’re rough,” West said.
“Then we get other people who like the tall grass and stuff in the alleys.”
West said the Riverdale alley-clearing was the first to spur complaints from residents.
Whitehorse alleys are generally uneven and full of potholes, with bad drainage, West said.
“We’re trying to help out the people who use the alleys for driveways…. We can’t make everybody happy.”
West said alley maintenance has been paused between Teslin and McQuesten because of the backlash from residents.
A plan of action will be posted to all downtown and Riverdale residents in the future, West said.
“We do have to clean them up; that’s the bottom line,” West said.
“I’m trying my best to keep everybody up to par.”