Received this in an email – for all you tree huggers out there:
Celebration of Life for the TREES at 1201 Fort Street: Sunday, January 20th, 7 - 8 p.m.
Happy 2019 to you community movers and shakers!
I’m writing to ask if you would each kindly share with your networks the attached invitation to attend during Sunday evening's lunar eclipse, a Celebration of Life to honour the trees at 1201 Fort Street that have served us so well for more than 100 years.
As 29 mature trees — 10 of which are “protected" under the Tree Preservation By-law — are about to be sacrificed for site preparation at 1201 Fort Street, Greater Victoria’s parks and environment committee consisting of Mayor Lisa Helps, Saanich Councillor Ned Taylor and Sooke Mayor Maja Tait, is requesting that the CRD board chairperson ask all local governments in the region to declare climate emergencies. It is worth noting that Mayor Helps voted last Spring to accept Abstract’s ironically-named Bellewood Park proposal for 83 über luxury homes in place of the forest on the nearly 2-acre site. Video marketing for the project prominently features lush greenery and even forest canopies from surrounding areas that contrast with out-of-scale (i.e., taller) new saplings in the artist renderings, many of which will be in pots to accommodate underground parking. It is further worth noting that, according to the arborist’s report, the remaining mature trees at the Bellewood might not survive blasting and construction: “If it is found that large structural roots must be pruned… it may be necessary to remove additional trees to eliminate any risk associated with them.”
The city’s data on tree loss in 2018 illustrates the depressing trend toward a declining tree population across the city due to densification as well as climate change, end-of-life span, human interference and removal on private property. Leslie Campbell, in her feature article, Victoria’s diminishing urban forest(Focus Jan/Feb 2019 https://www.focusonvictoria.ca/janfeb2019/victorias-diminishing-urban-forest-r17/ ) reports that “In the first 9 months of 2018, the City had removed 327 trees and planted 265 trees on City property. Since then, they have removed a least a further 29 trees in Stadacona Park, adjacent to the 1400 block of Pandora Avenue, and 12 more in Fernwood.” Yet the City’s Parks department plans to plant “only 250 to 300 new trees per year (which does not even replace on a one-to-one basis recent removals of mature trees from City-owned land. And on private land, only certain tree removals need to be accompanied with replanting of, at most, two saplings.” (Focus)
Leslie Campbell opines that the “biggest gap in the tree bylaw is that in practice, it fails to protect any tree when their removal is deemed 'necessary for the purpose of constructing a building, an addition to a building, or construction of an accessory building' or a driveway, off-street parking, utilities services connections, or 'the installation, repair, or maintenance of public works.’ “
All at what cost to the climate? Grace Golightly of the Community Trees Matter Network cites in the above Focus article, research from Ohio State University suggesting that it would take “ .. a total of 269 two-inch-diameter trees to replace the carbon sequestration provided by a single 36-inch mid-sized tree.” So much for the effectiveness of those two-inch saplings in protecting us from climate change. Also in the Focus article, Golightly adds that “I think it’s essential that the City purchase well-treed properties that come up for sale. They can either be covenanted and re-sold, or made into mini-parks where more trees could be planted to increase the carbon storage and benefits to the neighbourhood.” Her position aligns with Victoria’s pre-real estate boom, Urban Forest Master Plan, that states, “The single greatest impact to the urban forest comes from the incremental loss of green space associated with development and densification (and that) as land use change and neighbourhoods are redeveloped, it is critical to ensure that adequate greenspace is being reallocated on-site or elsewhere to sustain the future urban forest.” Yet, in spite of the UFMB, urban forest expansion has not happened in tandem with development. In fact, according to Campbell, most of the UFMP’s 26 recommendations have not beenimplemented.
This Sunday, January 20th, we will celebrate with tributes, poems, songs, musical instruments and love, the many gifts that the trees have given us: fresh oxygen, carbon capture and storage, beauty, serenity, shelter for wildlife, enhanced biodiversity, flood control, water table preservation, a buffer from wind and noise, shade in the summer and in general, relief from the urban environment. We also hope to express a sense of urgency for a needed change of direction at City Hall.
Thanks in advance for your assistance in circulating the attached invitation.
Geanine Robey & Nancy McGregor, Tree Huggers