LETTER: Has Parksville launched a war on trees?

Parksville is sometimes regarded as one of the ugliest communities of its size on Vancouver Island. Now we are beginning to understand why: its planning department is living under a rock.

Many citizens were gobsmacked to see a Parksville engineer quoted as saying, “Amazingly, residents don’t want trees.” (Parksville subdivision bylaw eliminates stree trees, The NEWS, Dec. 28). Many Parksville residents think it is amazing its planners would say such a thing.

Current planning literature, world-wide, advocates the creation and maintenance of trees. Planners in the U.K. found urban spaces with trees have a beneficial effect on mental health. Interestingly, most areas of extreme poverty are conspicuous due the absence of trees.

The US Forest Service adds, “Trees in cities may not look like parts of a typical forest, but they do provide valuable ecosystem services to urban and suburban dwellers. Tree canopies improve water and air quality and provide wildlife habitat. Trees make neighborhoods more livable and provide aesthetic and psychological benefits for human and other residents. As the world’s populations become more urban, trees and their benefits are become increasingly important. Many city residents value their street trees and city governments and civic associations have become big boosters of trees and tree planting…”

Compare this thinking to the PQB News story: “The design of newer subdivisions… will leave much less space for boulevard trees — which surveys have shown are not a priority.” Further, increased spacing between trees on arterial and collector roads would result in, “…fewer trees overall.” I have a hunch the planners’ consultations are grossly flawed and do not represent fairly our citizens’ views.

We implore city council and staff to show leadership in adopting forward-thinking designs that include planting more trees, so Parksville, a community with one of the greatest potentials on the Island, can see it realized.

Leonard F. Bradley

Parksville

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