LETTER: Parksville needs more trees and less pavement

Regarding your article about the City of Parksville’s proposed changes to subdivision bylaws (Parksville subdivision bylaw eliminates street trees, Dec. 28):

This is surely madness!

In the early ’90s, I was returning to Parksville from down-Island and picked up a hitchhiker, who turned out to be a student from UVic in an urban planning course. He told me that they had put students on a bus and brought them to Parksville to see how not to do it!

Just look at streets such as Ironwood, Foxtail and Lodgepole in the Ermineskin area. There is absolutely no need for residential streets to be that wide. They are wide enough to be a four-lane through road in many cities.

And has no one noticed that the most desirable residential areas in other cities are those with beautiful, tree-lined streets? Check out Fairfield in Victoria or Kitsilano in Vancouver.

We know that extreme weather events are becoming more common. Two ways we can help ourselves deal with these events are planting trees to shade us and our ground from the heat of summer, and reducing the areas of impermeable surfaces in our new developments to mitigate problems caused by increasingly intense rain events.

Other jurisdictions (including Qualicum Beach) are waking up to this reality just as Parksville is closing its eyes, pretending it’s not happening and going the other way. They’ll just put in bigger drain pipes apparently! Rainwater is not a problem to be got rid of. It is a resource to be cared for.

Driving around on the Gulf Islands on their small twisty roads, they have traffic warning signs saying, “Vision Limited”. I have thought for many years I should take one and nail it to the door of City Hall. This surely makes it essential!

Still, there has to be an upside. I guess it’s time to let universities and colleges know about this. The tourism numbers could yet be improved by bus loads of planning students coming not just from UVic, but perhaps from across the country, returning to Parksville in droves to see how not to do it.

Luke Downs

Whiskey Creek

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