Sunday, July 13, 2008

On Trees: Save or Cut? A Loss We Can't Repair

Trees have been going down at a great rate in Brentwood Bay this year. It seems the municipality set a precedent by cutting the beautiful trees on our main street despite 1600+ mostly local signatures asking them not to, and now some developers and homeowners have decided to follow suit.

The Bickford trees pictured here are some of those still left on site after many trees were cut earlier in preparation for a new multi-family development just above Trafalgar Square. These are unquestionably heritage trees of an age and size that should make them untouchable. The developer says he has an arborist's report and a hydro report that say they should come down. Have you ever heard of an arborist's report or hydro report that says the trees should stay? Rarely if ever, I'm sure.

It is very easy to set the stage for removing a tree that took decades to reach this size. As you can see the power lines run in front of the trees and the trees are not encroaching. These are healthy trees and should not be taken down.

The maple on the property that the Brentwood Inn is about to turn into 6 condos at $1.4 million each is to be saved apparently, but citizens will have to be watchful. What is the value of a tree like this? It is priceless. Its roots hold our storm waters in the ground and thereby help prevent flooding. Its leaves breathe for us, cleaning our air of the GHGs from the cars along the road and the off-gassing of the pavement itself. Its shade cools the pavement keeping the pavement from creating unpleasant micro-climates that heat us up further. Its branches and trunk provide homes for the birds that eat mosquitoes and other annoying pests. When we cut down a tree we throw the balance of nature out in that spot. Dan Behune has stated that he always intended to make every effort to save the maple and the other native trees on the property and for that we should thank him. It's important to let people know that we are watching and we are concerned.

What will happen to the trees along Mt Newton if the Senanus pipeline goes through?

What will happen to the "mostly-treed" properties along Keating that some would to use to expand the industrial corridor?

Every time you cut one tree you are interfering with others in the interdependency that makes a forest even in an urban setting.

If we have any understanding at all of the global emergency we are facing we would know that we need to keep every tree we can. We need to build around our trees. We need to plant more fast growing, drought tolerant large trees (not ornamentals in need of much watering and bred to stay small).

We need our Council to start saying no to cutting and start saying yes to making sure we keep our lovely village and rural countryside green.

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