Protect our mature trees

In Parksville, more and more mature trees are being cut down by property owners and contractors.

In Parksville, more and more mature trees are being cut down by property owners and contractors.

Small pockets of forest are reduced to scorched earth. They do it for legitimate reasons like improving views, eliminating hazards and building new homes. I don’t blame them at all. It is much easier for a contractor to operate equipment on a clear site.

However, they are changing the character of our city and people who live here should ask if this is what they want.

Mature trees enhance the appearance of a neighbourhood, provide shade and protection and add value to our houses. They clean our air, shelter many living organisms and form a vital link in our eco-system.

Our current bylaw concerning the cutting of trees does not seem very effective in preserving them.

We could reduce the carnage if enough concerned people raise the issue and suggest reasonable alternatives. Perhaps we need to offer contractors incentives to minimize tree cutting and educate property owners about the consequences. We could reduce development permit fees and fast track approvals when trees can be saved.

In parts of Europe, a permit is required to cut a mature tree, site inspections are conducted and a replacement tree must be planted somewhere. It may cost a little but the reward would support our OCP vision for a more attractive city.

A municipal election is approaching and I urge residents to solicit prospective councillors for their views and vote accordingly.

Rhys Harrison, Parksville