OPINON: World War Tree in C-K

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It is sad how we have become a litigious society and sadder still how it puts people – and governments – in fear.

Fear of being sued.

The wind blows, tree limbs come down in a violent storm and soon enough, municipal officials dispatch the chainsaws.

Last August, a nasty storm ripped through southwestern Ontario. Trees were uprooted, with some hitting houses, in parts of Chatham-Kent.

The cleanup was extensive.

But now, in fear of future storms, or perhaps flying beavers gnawing at tree limbs above people and dogs out for a stroll down Victoria Avenue in Chatham, municipal administration wants to remove trees that an arborist thinks could be suspect.

Victoria Avenue is a gem of a street in Chatham-Kent. People drive and walk it to enjoy the shade and the beauty scores of mature trees provide.

Victoria Avenue’s trees have been under threat of hatchet, axe and saw before. Prior to the pandemic, a plan was in place to add in bike lanes and as a result remove trees that would have been in the way of the reshaping of the street. It was suggested work for when sewers under the street were to be dug up and replaced.

Fortunately, those sewers remain in decent shape and the plan was shelved.

However, now the municipal lumberjack wannabes are back, sharpening their chainsaws.

They fear 16 trees identified by the arborist might fall on someone out for a walk in the next terrible storm…because who in C-K does NOT go for a walk during seriously inclement weather?

So what if residents and users of Victoria wish to preserve the trees?

At least with the cutting of a number of trees along the boulevard in Erieau, it was done with residents’ approval.

In that case, the trees are very old scrub trees – poplar – that aren’t as hearty as the maples that line Victoria.

And why is it the only trees that are a danger to society exist in Erieau and on Victoria Avenue? What about within municipal cemeteries, another place people love to walk?

This smacks of tree/road elitism.

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