Tuesday, March 25, 2008

trees are neighbours too!

I posted the other day about a new home being moved onto our island and some unhappiness about the damage the move did enroute -- I wasn't home when one of the neighbours circulated a petition (against the city allowing the move as planned) and I'm not sure on such short notice what this could have achieved. I'm not at all sure I would have signed the petition because, after all, the new owners will be community members soon, and, having already got the necessary permits, bought the house, paid for its barging, and arranged to have it settled onto the lot, they had no other options but to use the available roads, hacking off any limbs and branches that got in the way.

Still, I share my neighbours' dismay at the results. The arbutus above, firs along the way, as evidenced by these scars up the trunk,
and these clippings along the verge.Here's the stump of another tree that was in the way and, apparently, disposable. Saddest for me, though, is the damage to this heritage apple tree near the lot where Chinese-Canadians, not allowed space in town during racist times, worked a communal garden early in the 20th century. Our island's new Community Garden association has been working to document the various heritage trees on the island and trying to get new ones started from cuttings and seeds. This tree produces tasty fruit each year, but since it's on the city boulevard now, it hasn't been properly pruned for years, and this butchery may prove too much for it to withstand.
Next to that damage, the gouging of the roads is a minor irritant with sights like these marking the house's route much more indelibly than Hansel and Gretel's breadcrumbs!

These ruts, of course, will begin to disappear with the next rainfall, and the grass will grow back over them. Meanwhile, the new house will have a foundation built around it, water and sewer hooked up along with light and heat. Our new neighbours will move in and grow their way into their new community and environment. Right now, they might just be wishing they had chosen a spot where people minded their own business more, but some day perhaps they'll appreciate a bulletin board with messages such as the one below!

To be clear, our new neighbours are merely doing what many of us might to expedite a dream -- and dreams and homes are so closely linked, aren't they! What my island community is objecting to is a collective social attitude that trees can be chopped -- either right down or just a branch here and a limb there -- for convenience's sake, and they can be replaced. We've been fortunate enough to live in a place where the number of trees (in a diversity not always found in landscaping) provides a quality to our daily lives that we're not willing to surrender without a squawk.


  1. I can easily cry over broken trees and dead animals on the side of the road. It happens against my will. These pictures are so sad.

  2. I'm always saddened at the loss or damage of a tree. Having grown up in an area with lots of trees, and then having lived a lot of my adult life in an area with far fewer, my arboreal appreciation has grown. What a shame that more forethought wasn't given so that the road could be cleared more judiciously.

  3. In France this would go down as a bit of judicious pruning! I think your post is very pragmatic/diplomatic and its good to remember nature always reclaims her own eventually.

  4. I am reminded of the current efforts to possibly save the "empty tree" in Stanley Park. Perhaps if we spent more time looking at the trees we actually have which are still alive...

  5. LBR, Gina, Alison, Pseu, Thomas: If only we were in charge, eh?
    And Thomas, yes, that's an amusing and puzzling parallel.

  6. just found you via blue garters comments. i loved seeing all the photos of your island life. my husband and i took a trip to salt creek island where we camped for a while and i fell in love with the islands there. it is my greatest fantasy to go back and stay forever this time. it holds a very special place in our hearts because we can say our twin babies were 'made in canada". wink. i will b checking back here.

  7. lovely to have you stop by, Mames. If you're talking about Saltspring Island, we love it there as well, altho' it's much bigger than our own little island. We sometimes head over there for the Saturday morning market. Can't claim any 'made on Saltspring' babies tho'.

  8. my neighbour built his fence around
    a large tree on his property. hooray. Another neighbour cut down a beautiful tree on his front lawn.
    two steps forward....


I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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