I live in the city of Duncan.
I have been following the meetings and concerns around the proposed tree removal. Like our councillors, I have heard all viewpoints from ambivalent to deeply upset.
It seems this is an issue that is dividing the community: from the post office to the store to the park, I have witnessed feelings running high.
I know the CVRD is responsible for the decision, but I do wonder if some oil cannot be poured on troubled waters here, and an alternative found with our Duncan contingent or anyone who is a peacemaker to help shift perspectives and re-open a situation that must be resolved with grace.
A suggestion I heard was that the tree become a tourist attraction, the first stop leading people into Duncan and the totems. The Kinsol trestle was originally dismissed as a waste of money, and is now a huge success and on our tourist brochures. The Ancient Maple, from an original homesteading farm, could incorporate a totem or a photo place where people gather, and a picnic area.
Some comments I heard were, “there is nothing in the vicinity to provide shade for the Duncan Day parade bagpipers”; “the car park exit can be changed and $40,000 saved by keeping the tree”; “an owl and birds use it”; “it provides much-needed oxygen on the street”; “it represents surviving despite the odds and is a symbol for the handicapped”. The comments cover all spectrums, but more important than the tree is the anger and angst its imminent demise has generated in the community.
I hope that some elected official can bring sanity back and redeem the situation before it is too late. It seems the commission is entrenched in a situation from which they cannot escape. It is a matter of diplomacy, and needs a skilled person to manoeuvre around egos and legislation in order to reprieve this tree and our sense of community wholeness.