Trees seem to be overlooked in development planning

The Vancouver Sun printed a story about the proposed bylaw for North Vancouver District aimed at protecting trees.

Dear editor,

Re: Shade and tree plantings in Courtenay.

On July 19 the Vancouver Sun printed a story about the proposed bylaw for North Vancouver District aimed at protecting trees over 75 centimeters in diameter.

Included would be heritage, wildlife and waterfront trees. The goal: to strike a balance between individuals and the community value placed on trees.

On July 20 the Comox Valley Record printed a story on the new Target store featuring an artist’s rendition of the buffer area to the south, which would include “extensive landscaping for 15 metres between the street and the store.”

The image published shows some bushes and a few larger trees, which to all appearances are as tall or taller than the Target Store.  Given that almost all commercial landscaping picks from among inexpensive and usually miniature varieties, this image seems overly optimistic.

The sad vision adjacent the new Thrifty of a few very small trees, inadequately planted and lying prone in the wind, not to mention the dead and dying trees in Costco’s parking lot, seems a perfect metaphor for how little consideration is given to the trees, the species of trees, the long-term purpose of trees and the shade value of trees once the approval of council gives these commercial enterprises the go-ahead.

I realize that council will say, “Yes — but we hold back significant fees, and we monitor, and we do plan for the future!”

And I would say that as Courtenay grows, council will be looking at bylaws that already exist in many cities across Canada to protect, nurture and encourage the planting of large trees, which not only provide habitat but also provide shade and yes, beauty.

Council could take greater advantage of its own planning department, which has provided excellent long-term community vision with the street-trees as various areas have been developed.

Every new commercial enterprise should be required to meet the same standards as regards species selection and long-term goals as the current street-tree program. There should be no rollback of time and or fee holdback commitment for commercial development.

These businesses will make many millions from our residents and they owe the community the value of trees landscaped on their property that could provide an ongoing benefit in turn of meaningfully shaded parking lots and buffer zones.

Yes, it will take some more management on their part — but is another job created to provide landscape maintenance a bad thing?

Laura Pope,

Denman Island

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