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LETTER: Tutor Drive trees dying, no thanks to the Town of Comox

Dear editor,
The boulevard trees on Tutor Drive look more like they should in October than July. Photo submitted

Dear editor,

Boulevard trees are amazing: besides adding to the aesthetics of the neighbourhood, they are also effective in improving air quality, by absorbing particulate pollution at street level. In addition, they are fantastic at reducing heat temperatures in summer, sometimes as much as 10 degrees C., by adding water vapour to the air. This is a huge benefit in the face of climate change, but also for the psychological benefits of people in the community. Furthermore, they provide shelter and habitats for birds, and help limit rainwater run-off, and prevent flooding.

Thus, I wish to thank all my neighbours who are doing their best in an attempt to save the boulevard trees on Tutor Drive.

Less than two weeks ago, I noticed that the two trees at the end of our block (on Tutor Drive) were dying: their leaves were dry, discoloured and brittle and most had fallen to the ground. Currently there are nine, possibly 10 at risk on our street.

The Town of Comox has always watered the boulevard since we moved here several years ago, and no message was sent out informing us that this had changed. However, after talking to one of my neighbours, we ascertained that the boulevard had not been watered since the fall of last year. Several of us have placed tree watering bags around the tree trunks, or watered by hand, in an attempt to save the trees. Letters were written to the Town of Comox, but when a watering truck did arrive, almost a week later, the trees were in even worse shape and the truck did not even water all the distressed trees.

This lack of communication is, to say the least, very distressing because the situation could easily been avoided had we been notified at the outset. I am primarily saddened about the death and distress of the trees, but I am also upset about the lack of responsibility that the town has taken: it has not only resulted in the death of our beautiful 12-year-old+ trees, but will also cause those of us who are watering the trees additional money for our water bill (currently our tree is going through a 75-litre bag of water each day), and for those trees which are now dead, the taxpayers will incur an expensive removal fee plus the cost of purchasing and planting new trees.

This, along with the fact that is will be impossible to replace a 12-year-old tree with that of a new sapling, is infuriating. To date, the town has not written me back to even inform me if they will be doing any watering in the future, if the water main is not working, or if the responsibility has landed on us individually. So much for your green agenda Town of Comox! Anyway, thank you my wonderful neighbours on Tutor Drive, for trying to save our trees. At least we can say that we did our best. Unfortunately, we shouldn’t have had to say it at all.

Deb Scarsbrook,