EDITORIAL: Poet tree in Parksville

In the poem Trees, the poet Joyce Kilmer opened what is probably his best-know work with the line, “I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree.”

He would probably feel a little better about Parksville this week, after city council approved an amendment that will allow boulevard trees to be planted under a proposed subdivision servicing bylaw.

The city had its own convergence of poetry and trees — poetrees? — in the two months after council gave its OK for staff to replace its existing subdivision servicing bylaw with an updated version that would have eliminated street trees.

During a public hearing held Monday night at council chambers in the Forum in downtown Parksville, Mayor Marc Lefebvre and Coun. Kirk Oates both remarked the issue of the street trees drew the largest response of any issue this council has dealt with taking office.

And the trees are just one part of a much larger, wide-ranging bylaw.

Well before Monday’s public hearing, which drew 21 pieces of written correspondents and six speakers, councillors had gotten an earful.

Oates noted that not only had he been stopped on the street by people and sent emails by people intent on saving Parksville’s trees, but that residents shared their views in these pages with letters to the editor — including one in the form of a poem.

One speaker who addressed council during Monday’s public hearing suggested Parksville has less of a tree problem than a communication problem. While the bylaw would have impacted only public street trees in new subdivsion development, the public seemed to believe all tree planting was going to cease in the city.

Some respondents even feared trees in existing subdivisons were going to be cut down to comply with the new bylaw.

This is not the case, city staffers pointed out emphatically on Monday. CAO Debbie Comis said the city has set a goal to plant 1,000 trees throughout Parksville in the coming year alone.

Whether confusion over the proposed bylaw came from its initial presentation to council or news reporting, the important thing is that our elected officials have shown again that they will listen and respond to input from the voters and taxpayers.

Which indicates they’re well-versed in the art of governance.

— Parksville Qualicum Beach News

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