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

BC Hockey to improve concussion care for players

BC Hockey has partnered with HeadCheck Health Inc. to establish standardization, and… Continue reading

Nanoose farm hopes to be more agriculturally transparent

Goal is to have new barn open to the public by spring of 2019

Teens premier Beauty and Beast Jr. Aug. 16 in Qualicum Beach

Outgoing and up-and-coming actors detail benefits of teen program

Drug-busted building in Parksville declared a ‘nuisance property’

RCMP has attended 354 Island Hwy. West 86 times since 2007

UPDATE: 5 injured in plane crash following Abbotsford International Airshow

One in critical condition in incident involving vintage plane

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

Column: Mother orca’s display of grief sends powerful message

The grief of this orca mother may not be visible anymore, but we must not forget.

Seven people with ties to Red Scorpions gang arrested in B.C. drug bus

Delta police have secured 94 charges against seven people, including drug and firearm offences

Second measles scare this summer at YVR

An infected traveller flew out of Vancouver’s airport three times

Judge OKs Weinstein suit, cites casting couch’s history

Actress Kadian Noble can sue disgraced Hollywood mogul for violating sex trafficking laws

Employers to raise salaries 2.6% on average next year: report

Firm points to factors such possibility of more trade protectionism, rising interest rates

B.C. school’s pledge to ban sex outside of heterosexual marriage now optional

Community convenant of Langley’s Trinity Western University has been centre of rights debate

Better Business Bureau open for Torch Award nominations

Deadline to nominate an amazing business or employee is Aug. 31

PM Trudeau and federal ministers to meet on Vancouver Island

Cabinet retreat will be held in Nanaimo from Aug. 21-23

Most Read