LETTER: Capital Regional District needs to see trees as an invaluable resources

We are grateful to hear that the CRD and Saanich now believe they won’t need to cut down up to 50 trees on Grange Road in Saanich, in order to construct a residual solids conveyance line to the Hartland Landfill.

We understand that the regional governments will try not to harm any trees. A neighbourhood group has suggested building it along Marigold Road instead, where no trees would be affected.

We sincerely hope you will find a way to keep these trees. The attitude that trees are expendable is outdated, given the imperative concern about global warming, and the climate change we already see locally.

Large urban trees are a cost-effective way to buffer climate change. The economic argument for keeping large trees is compelling.

Large, mature trees are exponentially better at sequestering carbon – one of the main causes of climate change – than are young saplings. It can take two to three hundred or more saplings to equal the same amount of carbon storing that one large tree can achieve.

– The neighbourhood where the CRD planned to remove these trees is a high-traffic area, which needs these trees for sound buffering and to clean pollutants from the air.

– Fifty trees mitigate a lot of stormwater. Were the economic impacts of removing them seriously considered when the plan to cut them down was made?

– Studies have proven that people living in neighbourhoods with mature trees have improved health and less stress. We wonder if the effect of removing that benefit from the neighbourhood was also considered?

– Trees are our touchstones, that we tend to see as near-permanent elements of our homes and communities. Losing mature trees in one’s neighbourhood is disturbing and painful. To lose 50 at once would be very traumatic for any community.

Our group, Community Trees Matter Network, urges the CRD and all municipalities to stop the unnecessary sacrifice of our hard – working mature trees. These trees are priceless assets, which take many decades to replace.

We must take the time, money and effort to work around mature trees. They must be preserved because our need for the many health and economic benefits they continuously give us will only increase.

We are in a climate crisis. With just 12 years to try to keep climate change below 1.5 C, every tree matters now.

Verna Stone, Frances Litman, Nancy Lane Macgregor, Grace Golightly and Lisa Gordon

Community Trees Matter Network

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