The fate of charcoal barbecues in White Rock’s Bayview Park is up in the air, after two split votes this week regarding whether they should remain.
“We’re in limbo,” Mayor Wayne Baldwin said, after council cast a tie vote first on a motion to keep the seven barbecues, then again on a motion to remove them.
“We’ll have to wait until Coun. (Larry) Robinson returns.”
Robinson is on holiday, which left council with an even number at Monday’s meeting.
“If we take no action, we’re carrying out what the motion said,” Baldwin said.
Removing the barbecues was suggested by city manager Dan Bottrill, after residents reiterated concerns with charcoal smoke.
The issue was brought to the city’s attention in 2010, when residents petitioned to have the grills removed. Council at that time voted to retain them, citing minimal costs and the potential loss of revenue from adjacent parking stalls.
In Bottrill’s May 28 report, he notes the previous staff report “may not have adequately communicated the environmental issues raised by the petitioners.”
He cited the city’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and noted concern is not so much with barbecues as it is with the use of charcoal and lighter fluid.
“My preference would quite frankly be to allow barbecues to continue, but… with gas,” Bottrill said.
Coun. Helen Fathers disputed the barbecues’ environmental impact and noted they promote community.
“It would be a shame for us to get rid of it,” she said.
Coun. Al Campbell agreed, noting coal trains that pass by are far more concerning.
Mayor Wayne Baldwin and Coun. Louise Hutchinson – who, with Coun. Grant Meyer, voted to remove the barbecues – said the picnic tables are the draw for visitors.