Nature and development out of balance

I visit the Parksville Qualicum Beach area several times a year and am always struck and rejuvenated by the area’s natural wonders — the forests, the beaches and, at this time of year, the parade of wildlife attracted by the spawning herring.

Every visit I’m also dismayed to see fewer and fewer trees standing as more and more lots are clear-cut to make way for cookie-cutter housing developments and sprawling new homes.

UNESCO’s Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Reserve is billed as a model for sustainable development and innovative ways to achieve a balance between the needs of humans and nature. But from Bowser to Nanoose Bay, communities in the biosphere seem to be repeating the same old mistakes.

Vancouver lost more than enough trees to fill Stanley Park before it introduced bylaws restricting removal of trees on private property. West Vancouver is proposing similar measures.

Taking the chainsaw to huge cedars and firs may make it easier for builders and more profitable for developers but it is creating a landscape of manicured yards more at home in suburbia than in the heart of one of the world’s richest ecosystems.

Margaret Munro


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