It is only a few days and the trees at the site of the new hospital will be coming down.
My concern is not the site of the hospital but the impact of the loss of over 800 mature trees — the loss of a valuable carbon sink in the Comox Valley.
Courtenay councils has signed onto the B.C. Climate Action Charter. As a member of the Comox Valley Regional District, they have signed the Partners For Climate Protection under the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. I am assuming these were signed with serious intent.
In this regard I would point out some information about trees. This particular information comes from an article titled Trees of Strength published by the Department of Horticultural Science at North Carolina State University.
Similar information is available at many different sites. Suffice to say, trees provide a valuable service in storing carbon and releasing oxygen.
What can we do?
We could follow the example of some other Canadian municipalities — Delta, for instance. They have a tree cutting regulation bylaw.
They state for trees on a development site, "Where trees are approved to be cut the minimum replacement ratio is two new trees for each tree cut but may be greater depending on the arborist's recommendation."
It is my hope that Courtenay council will pass a bylaw that requires tree replacement by developers.
It is surely our responsibility to continue every effort to help alleviate the effects of climate change. It is a small gift municipalities can give to the planet. We owe it to future generations.
Editor's note: As reported in the Record, a Vancouver Island Health Authority spokesman said nearly 830 trees will be removed from the site, with almost 50 retained. About 720 new trees will be planted, mostly in a buffer area between the hospital site and North Island College.