Our downtowns need more trees, not fewer

You know how on a hot day when you enter the woods the temperature goes down about five degrees once you are under the leafy canopy?

That’s why we need trees in our downtown urban areas.

Desperately. We’ve had some arguments on the subject in our letters to the editor of late, with some folks arguing that trees in downtown Duncan and along the Trans Canada Highway corridor should be taken down, with some even arguing that nothing should be planted to take their place.

We could not disagree more with this argument.

There’s the issue of heat and oxygen (that the trees and other greenery provide) counterbalancing to a certain extent the oven effect of pavement and blacktop.

Nowhere is worse in the summer than a treeless parking lot under the baking sun. We certainly don’t want our downtown streets to resemble that in any way.

Consider those walking around on summer days – wouldn’t you rather walk in the shade of some trees, or be able to sit in a patch of shade for a few moments when the heat gets too much? That’s what trees are for.

Then there’s just the sheer visual that trees provide.

They are a balm for the eye that can help draw people in to stop in town – definitely a desirable quality.

Sure, we have to prune them to keep them from the power lines and just to keep them from growing out of control, but they are absolutely a stunning attraction when in bloom, lending a beauty to our stretch of the TCH it never otherwise achieves.

We’d rather see the power lines move underground than the trees eliminated.

Consider also that old neighbourhoods with tree-lined streets or boulevards are almost invariably more desirable, expensive and sought-after.

Also a desirable quality for our downtown.

Watering in the heat of a summer like we’re experiencing this year, pruning and other maintenance is a small price to pay for what trees bring to our lives in urban areas.

We need more of them, not less.

We urge our governments to keep planting.

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We want to hear from you! Submitting a letter to the editor is now easier than ever – you can do it online by going to the Cowichan Valley Citizen website, www.cowichanvalleycitizen.com, and clicking on the Opinion tab. Then click Send us a letter.

Write 300 words or less on the topic of your choice, include your full name (first and last), and a town you hail from.

Include a phone number (which is not printed) so that we can verify your authorship.