Public tree discussion was a polite joke

I have followed the Island Savings Centre/Duncan Library parking lot issue of the removal of the old maple tree

I have followed the Island Savings Centre/Duncan Library parking lot issue of the removal of the old maple tree, having signed a few petitions in defence of the tree and attending the first two meetings offered by the ISC commission.

Although the ISC offered public discussion on the tree’s fate, the offer was like offering a prisoner a cigarette before going to the firing squad. Their offering was something of a polite joke, as that board had already carved out a very entrenched, anti-ancient tree position.

One wonders if any commission members ventured out of their air conditioned offices to walk around the old tree with an appreciative eye. Or, as it would seem, board members just rubber stamped as OK the pave-the-lot plans. A contract worth some $600,000. Gee, what was really wrong with the old parking lot?

I was very fond of that old tree as it was the only tree in the whole of the ISC grounds that offered substantial shade on a hot, sunny day if one had a dog in the car. That tree had unique physical and aesthetic qualities other than shade. It was a gem the ISC commission chose to tar and feather as dangerous, unsafe or as dying. I suspect that tree, if it had been left, would have outlived many of those on the commission!

Driving by the site now shows a very sterile, bland area that no amount of landscape planning will improve what was once there. By the actions of the commission, one wonders if they have opened a new church in Duncan — the Church of Asphalt Paving and Concrete.

 

Richard Yates

Cowichan Bay