Iím a resident of Riverside Drive. I have lived on this street for eleven
years at two locations. The first house was at the end of the street close to
where the slide occurred. Our current home is close to Swinburne Avenue. We were
in the last group of people to be evacuated.
My husband was born on the North Shore. I have lived here for twenty seven
years. When we bought our current home in 1997, neither one of us remembered the
slides of í79. Neither the real estate agent nor the owner said anything.
Perhaps they too had forgotten.
Our property is a pan handle so our home sits up high overlooking the houses on
Swinburne Avenue. I could write a short novel describing all the work we have
done to improve our home and property.
We have gone through all of the hoops and proper permits whenever things needed
to be done. Our house is surrounded by trees. We have many trees that block our
view to the west. These trees are on a bank within our property and will remain
there for the safety of the bank. They will not be toped as our arborist says
this makes them an unhealthy tree. We have never cut a tree without the OK from
I am an avid gardener. All summer long I hear the chain saws buzzing all around
me, followed by the cracking of the branches. I wonder if they have permits.
We have a natural creek on our back yard that comes from the district land
behind us. It runs all the way down one side of our property into the street
drains. When we moved into our house the first thing we did was to repair all
the drainage around our garage at the back of our property. Water was coming
from the banks when we had heavy rains in winter and spring. The ground around
the garage became very soggy and wet. The water from the creek was running down
the side of our driveway in all directions when rains were extreme. With proper
drainage we now have a dry garage and we donít worry about the soil running down
the side of our property. We donít worry about our neighbours property being
Along the property line at the back of our house on district land there are many
maple and alder trees that drop their leaves into the creek. Every year I clean
up the leaves that fall in the creek to ensure that it flows safely. I contacted
the district hall about cutting down these trees. They are on flat land. I told
the man I was talking to that we had done our part to repair our drainage
systems. He told me they would not cut the trees down unless they were diseased.
He also said if the tree falls down the district would pay for the damage. He
said if I wanted to cut them down at my cost, I could. I laughed at him when
told that I would need to purchase a permit.
I applaud the district for the way they have handled this disaster. It is the
first time they have had to put all their research and ideas into practice.
My husband and I were evacuated on the Saturday and returned home on Tuesday.
That evening we went to three meetings. I listened to everything very carefully.
It was a lot of information to take in. Everyone seemed to be satisfied about
the way things were being handled. The first meeting was at the district yard
with their representatives. The second meeting was with all the residents of the
Riverside and Berkley area. One fellow who lives on the top side said he had
repaired all his drains but there was nothing on the street to connect it to. I
listened to a professor from UBC who specializes in landslides. He told us that
we live under what is called an escarpment. He described it with diagrams and
told us how these ridges were created and what materials they consist of. He
told us what things can weaken them. The first thing was land fill. The second
thing was drainage and the third was tree cutting. All of the above have
I believe that we will get a full report on every home up on the ridge. What I
am concerned about is the future. Who will be there next year to check that the
people who are required to do necessary repairs have done them? Who will be
there to check that they are doing something they shouldnít be doing? And, who
will be there to make sure no more deaths of our loved ones occur because of
The weather patterns are changing and we need to be prepared for this. Everyone
needs to do their part.
I would like to suggest that all unnecessary new projects be put on the back
burner. North Vancouver is a beautiful, eco sensitive area. The district knows
that there are many problems.
Our home is our nest egg. We do not want the value and safety of our home
I see the district wanting to build, build and rebuild, and most of it over
budget. They are ignoring the infrastructure. Preventative maintenance is not a
priority until there is an emergency.
First and foremost, our tax dollars need to be spent responsibly. New libraries
and new museums are attractive but we need to have a safe place to live.
I say stop and maintain. There are many problem areas in the district that need
to be addressed. I hope Iíve made my point. Get involved. Please voice your
opinions and concerns to the Riverside Drive Committee or the Committee in your