LETTER: Loss of street trees a disturbing trend

Re: Parksville subdivision bylaw eliminates street trees (The NEWS, Dec. 28) about some proposed bylaw changes, one of them being the elimination of trees in new subdivisions left me speechless for a few minutes. Strange that city staff, who should know the value of trees to a city, should consider proposing such an idea.

To maximize profit for the developers, I suspect that the future subdivision lots and hence the ‘front’ yards’ of the new subdivisions will follow the recent trend evident at the western end of Forsyth Avenue and on Despard Avenue. In other words, there is no room in the ‘yards’ to plant any kind of tree of significant size, given that the house takes up two-thirds to three-fourths of the lot space. Houses in the new subdivisions will be built with barely enough room to walk between them. For trees to do well, the roots need space. Most homeowners wouldn’t want a tree next to their house for fear of its roots damaging the walls, basement and/or crawlspace.

There are a number of reasons why more trees throughout the city makes sense. The landscape of a city is greatly enhanced by trees. They clean air pollutants, absorb noise, provide shade on hot days and generally add to the city’s quality of life. Trees provide homes and safe places for birds escaping predators. They also play a role in soil erosion and water management. In these days of climate change, the management of water has become, if not a top priority, very close to the top.

Come on, residents of Parksville. Let your voices be heard. Let Mayor Lefebvre and council know that trees are essential and that Parksville would not be Parksville without them.

Elizabeth Salomon-de-Friedberg


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