Whitehorse Daily Star

Image title

Photo by Vince Fedoroff

RESIDENTS ‘VERY UPSET’ – Darlene Paquet, Jen Laliberté, Jocylyn McDowell, Chris McNutt (left to right) and Ringo are seen Thursday in the alley between Teslin and McQuesten roads. The city crew destroyed raspberry bushes full of raspberries, a rhubarb plant, fireweed in bloom and delphiniums poised to bloom. One resident had hand-planted a dozen of the raspberry bushes early in the spring.

Residents decry destruction of flowers, berries

A municipal improvement project cleared the wildflowers and berries from a Riverdale alley this week, dismaying some residents.

By Gabrielle Plonka on July 10, 2020

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 alley’s wildflowers.

“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 alley. 

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.”

Comments (11)

Up 3 Down 3

Greasy Tex on Jul 15, 2020 at 10:55 pm

@patti Eyre Woodcutter is not right, they won't grow back. The whole end of Marsh Lake along that straight stretch was a giant raspberry patch that people and bears would be picking on at the same time. The highway straight stretch came along and now try and find raspberries there that once had staggering density.

Up 6 Down 5

Patti Eyre on Jul 15, 2020 at 2:42 pm

So much death and destruction! But Woodcut Er is right, they will grow back.

Up 17 Down 4

DA on Jul 15, 2020 at 8:49 am

There are pros and cons to everything. I'm sorry that the plants were destroyed, but going to the papers about it? Give me a break...

Up 8 Down 4

Josey Wales on Jul 14, 2020 at 9:51 pm

There ya have it folks, a solution to a oooold CoW issue.
Tired of that pesky snow loitering around your residential lanes and streets?
Make raspberry bushes and roses outta the snow...gone!

Funny they rip roses out here, and pay staff to plant them along the Hamilton Speedway?
Striving for perfection indeed, clearly.

Up 15 Down 5

Charlies Aunt on Jul 13, 2020 at 5:53 pm

So would Riverdale residents prefer the jungle alley ways in Porter Creek? Some of them are so disgustingly overgrown & neglected they require a machete to walk through.

Up 21 Down 4

TheHammer on Jul 13, 2020 at 5:03 pm

I'm not buying that line about cats and dogs jumping out. And making way for vehicle traffic, that's bad planning. There's loads of potholes all over town to deal with. Improving back alleys when main thorough fares are in a state of disrepair is a weird strategy. Sounds like people wanting their driveways paved. Beauty before beastliness.

Up 31 Down 8

Woodcutter on Jul 13, 2020 at 8:55 am

Relax folks, they will grow back. Slow news day?

Up 18 Down 9

One One-Lesser-Voice on Jul 12, 2020 at 11:10 pm

Funny thing is when you look at the photo the alley has gravel and it looks level with no potholes.
Two sides to this story - however I do like the residents viewpoint. Nice to have wildflowers around.

Up 15 Down 2

Bernd Stelter on Jul 12, 2020 at 12:32 pm

@ Bingo - I agree with you, as in Whistle Bend no trees left at all.

Up 59 Down 21

Atom on Jul 10, 2020 at 8:03 pm

Goooooood God!
Plant your plants on your property....or.....move to the country...build you a home...plant a little garden.....

Up 55 Down 17

Bingo on Jul 10, 2020 at 5:02 pm

Only in Riverdale! Riverdale folks also called out Atco for cutting a few trees and rose bushes IN the power line right of way...you simply can’t make this nonsense up.

Add your comments or reply via Twitter @whitehorsestar

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, website comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your name and email address are required before your comment is posted. Otherwise, your comment will not be posted.