Letters to the Editor

Retaining trees

Re: “Underground utilities the way to go”, March 16 Mirror.

I found several aspects of your editorial regarding underground  utilities most interesting.  In particular, since I have been  involved in developing a subdivision, your comments “... there’s so  many trees in the city except for in the newer subdivisions where  the tendency is to clear cut the property before building houses.”  and “... new subdivisions can afford to retain trees because all  services are put underground”.

Services are put underground in new subdivisions because that is the standard to which they are constructed because at some time a city council had the foresight to decide that long term aesthetics and maintenance costs considerations were more important than increased development costs.  That was good.  The increased infrastructure development costs led to the creation of smaller lots. Financially responsible for the developer, and somewhat ironically, not  incompatible with the “sustainable” objectives embraced by our  current city Council.

The not so good part is that attempting to retain trees leads to all kinds of problems.  Speaking from personal experience, attempting to leave aesthetic, sound, safe native trees after allowing for  roadways, building locations and driveways is a monumental  challenge.  Naturally, the first good wind that comes along and  takes out some of these trees creates incremental cleanup costs, not  to mention the aspect of liability.

Then to add the environmental twist, should an eagle with a yen for  urban living decide to try to set up housekeeping in one of the  remaining trees, the zealous application of regulations regarding  “preservation of the eagle tree” requires that there be NO activity  within a 60 metre radius of the tree!  What are we supposed to  do.....abandon the intruding homes.....close the streets...... don’t cut the grass in the back yard?

I think there is room for a compromise.  Let’s consider that there  are forests, rural areas, and developed areas.  Let’s leave the  forests and their management to...wait for it...the  Ministry of Forests.  How about letting the people who have invested  in rural acreages have their horses, pastures, and agricultural opportunities, and with their choice of forested areas. And for the  city, why not realize that there does not appear to be a shortage of  eagles (if you don’t believe me just go up to the landfill on  Argonaut Road and get your fill of these majestic scavengers) and quit  worrying about saving trees in the city.

Ted Maxwell

Campbell River

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