EDITORIAL: Trees spared from chopping block

Like U.S. President George Washington, in the tale of his being asked as a youth whether he chopped down his father’s prize cherry tree, Parksville councillors couldn’t tell a lie.

Council made its mea culpa Monday when it voted unanimously to pull a subdivision bylaw vote from its meeting agenda and reconsider the bylaw’s provisions, one of which is a potential elimination of street trees in new subdivisions.

After receiving an engineering report on the draft bylaw in December, council directed staff to prepare the bylaw for a vote. But well before the subdivison appeared on the agenda for three readings at this week’s council meeting, the public had cast its own votes through calls to the city, messages to councillors and letters to this newspaper.

Final totals are not available, but it’s safe to say the trees won in a landslide.

Before Monday’s meeting in council chambers had a chance to take root, Coun. Kirk Oates pruned the subdivision bylaw from the agenda with a motion that council was quick to support, citing the need to dig deeper into the bylaw’s details.

Before any of us come down on council with a righteous “Gotcha!”, there’s nothing in the record to suggest any of the current councillors actually hate trees.

Before the pollen had settled on council’s vote to reconsider the subdivision bylaw, Ronda Murdock took the microphone on behalf of the Mid-Island chapter of the Wilderness Committe, to share its appreciation for council’s aquisition last fall of the 97-acre “Ermineskin” lands, to be maintained in perpetuity as parkland.

Likewise, December’s council decision to forward the subdivision bylaw was closely followed by a development proposal by Radcliffe Development that included planting its own urban forest where none currently exists. Nobody at the council table suggested Radcliffe scrap the forest idea.

We understand the concern of those who have watched trees coming down on private land, or who have frowned while driving past timber company slash piles each fall. This bylaw probably looked like the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back.

But municipalities have to walk a fine line between development and urban forestation,and there is a real cost to city-owned trees on city-owned land. Which is to say, a taxpayer cost.

If tree planting is restored in a revised version of this bylaw, we’ll be putting our money where our mouths are. — Parksville Qualicum Beach News

Just Posted

Qualicum Beach society goes to bat for insect eaters

Two bat houses built to monitor population in Heritage Forest

Parksville reopens portion of wetland

City undertakes review, remediation of liability concerns

Is Steve Nash Vancouver Island’s best athlete of all-time?

As Captain Canada gets ready to enter basketball’s Hall of Fame it’s time to debate his legacy

Who is Vancouver Island’s greatest athlete ever?

We want to know, you get to choose in a 64-athlete tournament bracket

Vehicle knocks out Parksville power pole

Traffic single lane heading southbound

VIDEO: Canadian Forces help flood-ravaged Grand Forks residents heal

Sgt. Bradley Lowes says the military is used to dealing with traumatic times

Friends and family playing huge role in search for Vancouver Island man

Volunteers from the public join forces with SAR crews

Chilliwack Chiefs make history with first RBC Cup win

In front of a huge and noisy crowd, the Chiefs claimed their first-ever national junior A title.

Central Vancouver Island man dies in single-vehicle collision

Pickup truck with three occupants went off the road near Port Alberni

UPDATED: Majority of flood evacuees in Kootenay-Boundary allowed to return home

Officials hope to have all 3,000 people back in their homes by Monday night

B.C. Lions bring back 6-time all-star offensive lineman Jovan Olafioye

He was acquired by the Montreal Alouettes last year.

Whitecaps rally for 2-2 draw with FC Dallas

Vancouver climbed out of a two-nil hole to tie FC Dallas 2-2

B.C. VIEWS: Making sense of climate policy

Flood and fire predictions have poor track record so far

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

Most Read