Thursday, February 23, 2012

I've got good news and bad news

 I went to see Brownsville Bar Park today for the first time in a long while. The good news is I  was  pleasantly surprised at how clean the park was. It is probably cleaner partly because it's winter and not many people are using it. The park is under the Patullo Bridge and Skytrain Bridge. There's river beach access and green spaces and big trees. In the past we've come down here in the summer with my daughter, played on the beach and launched our homemade boats. It's a lovely spot, albeit difficult to get to right now with all the road construction related to the South Fraser Perimeter Highway. I didn't get a good picture of the park, but here's one I found to give you an idea what it's like.
Photo by Damien Beatty
Of course there is graffiti at the base of the bridge and an old rusty shopping cart. But it's not directly on park land so the I don't think the parks department has the mandate or authority to clean it up. I think I am going to look into organizing some large scale wall painting in my section of Surrey.  There's a few large cinderblock walls just crying out for art on them.
There's a nice sign at the entrance of the park now that includes information about the history of the area and more. Now for the bad news. After I looked at the sign, I turned around and looked the other direction.
 That's when I saw the tossed TV, baby gate (the second one in this area), broken glass and this colorful collection of bottle caps,  battery, rocks and plastic.

Like any large organization, each department in the city has it's defined area and role. For the parks, it means that the area directly outside the park is not necessarily maintained or beautiful.  I think this reflects poorly on the parks. It makes the public face of Surrey not quite clean enough to change the public's perception of our city.

The waterways at Brownsville ended in a brown swirling eddy of plastic bottles, garbage, styrofoam, cushions and shopping cart.

Garbage is dumped off the side of the road and stuck in the blackberries.  This is about only about 50-100 feet from the entrance of the park and from Brownsville.

Random garbage dump that at first seems mystifying. Old vegetables, milk and cream cartons, candy wrapper and McCafe. Perhaps a homeless person's leftovers after a freegan meal and cheap snack.
From Brownsville Bar Park I did a few minute drive down the river to Tannery Dog Park. Last time I was there, there was garbage dumped and junk in the parking lot, but since I had asked the parks department to clean it up, it was clean. The city usually does come and clean up if you call and ask. It's not the picking up of the garbage that's the real problem. It's the putting down of garbage and residents ignoring or tolerating it for months at a time that's the problem.
Tannery Park has interesting views of the bridges across the Fraser. If you haven't heard, they are seeking public input for the new Patullo Bridge to be built. My input is make it free or make it a tunnel.

Pussy willow  tree budding, a sign of spring to come.

A clean beach to enjoy. 

Now for the bad news.

This is the ditch immediately outside Tannery Park. I photographed this ditch before and the same stroller, same paint cans, same oil slick and plastic containers are here as before.

The yellow garbage bag at the top of the ditch is the color of the Adopt-a-Street bags, but this isn't one of them, nor was the black garbage bag next to it.  If we turn around...

It's the entrance to Tannery Park. The lines have been drawn and this is not the park.

There is good news to end with.  I'm meeting with a Surrey City Environmental Technologist next week about cleaning up the waterways in this area, so there will hopefully be more good news to report in the future.


  1. There are lots of homeless, and unemployed people in Surrey. Pay them a fare wage and get them to clean up Surrey.

    Otherwise, keep up the good work.

    1. There is a lot of homeless when I was down there I met a man who has been cleaning the debris off the beach for five years and has done a wonderful job I must say he did not want anyone to know what he was doing but I think he deserves a thank you very much and if there were more people like him he is responsible for cleaning that entire sandy beach of all the dirty metal that was down on the beach good work.


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