Unique tree should be saved from developer’s axe, Abbotsford councillor says

Unique tree should be saved from developer’s axe, Abbotsford councillor says

Douglas fir is ‘exceptionally large’ for an urban environment, arborist says

A massive century-old tree will likely have to come down on a MacLure Road property if a new apartment building is approved by council on Monday.

A developer has applied to build a four-storey 72-unit apartment on MacLure, just north of the Regency Park condo complex.

But Coun. Patricia Ross sounded the alarm Monday that the project as currently proposed will result in the removal of a 130-foot Douglas fir described by the developer’s arborist as “an exceptionally large tree for an urban environment” and of “possible specimen quality.”

The tree is along the property’s southern edge, but the arborist’s report says it would have to be removed because its root zone would be affected by the planned underground parking structure.

“Once you’ve cut it down you’ve lost it forever and you can’t go back and fix that,” Ross said. “There’s probably more in carbon absorption value in one of its branches than in any one of the trees that would be replanted [for] it.”

Ross asked for the project’s first reading to be deferred until council sees what the city’s new tree protection bylaw will look like. That report is expected at the end of November. She said she hoped that the developers could come up with a proposal that allows the tree to stay.

Thirty-six other mature trees would also have to be removed from the property. Under the proposal, 34 trees would be planted on site, and $21,600 will be provided in lieu of 72 other necessary replacement trees.

Ross’s motion to hold off on a decision won backing from Mayor Henry Braun and Coun. Dave Loewen, but was defeated. Couns. Les Barkman, Brenda Falk, Sandy Blue, Moe Gill, Kelly Chahal and Ross Siemens voted against the deferral motion.

Siemens said the project had gone along with the city’s process and it wouldn’t be fair to put it off until new tree rules are before council.

“We can’t just start picking and choosing to kick it down the road until something changes, because that would be changing the goal posts.”

Council then voted to move the project forward to a public hearing on Nov. 6 at 7 p.m., with Loewen and Ross opposed and Braun siding with the majority.

The public will be able to weigh in with their views on the development, and council will vote on the proposal at its regular council meeting following the hearing.

 

Unique tree should be saved from developer’s axe, Abbotsford councillor says

Unique tree should be saved from developer’s axe, Abbotsford councillor says