Victoria is famous for its pink cherry blossoms, but they will steadily be replaced with native trees (Don Denton/ News Staff)

Cherry trees in Victoria to be replaced with native species

Extra funding for tree management threatens Victoria’s famous cherry blossoms

The City of Victoria is allocating an extra $858,000 to its Urban Forest Master Plan, a move that one councillor argued would propel the removal of local cherry trees.

In a committee of the whole meeting on Thursday, council voted five-to-one to approve a motion put forward by Coun. Laurel Collins to put this year’s additional revenue into the city’s Urban Forest Master Plan, a detailed plan to increase greenspace and tree canopy coverage throughout the city.

“It’s important that we start to think of urban forests as infrastructure we need to start taking care of,” Collins said.

ALSO READ: Cherry blossoms are blooming early in Victoria

Coun. Geoff Young opposed the idea, citing the huge expense and the threat to the city’s famous pink blossoms.

“I refer now to the blossom-filled streets which will be emerging in a few days that I think a lot of people consider to be an important part of the city,” Young said. “The council has already adopted the explicit policy of the destruction of those landscapes. We have adopted the policy of not replacing those trees but rather replacing them with native trees.”

Young argued that with these additional funds, more trees will be identified and taken down more quickly, a move that likely would not sit well with the public.

“I think we’re moving too quickly on this, and I think the increase of spending in context of our other needs is not warranted,” Young said.

ALSO READ: Resident charged $48,350 fine for poisoning large Oak Bay tree

The Urban Forest Master Plan was approved by council in 2013, but little action has taken place to implement it.

Thomas Soulliere, director of parks, recreation and facilities noted that the additional funds would help staff implement and accelerate the work of the master plan.

He also noted that while the Urban Forest Master Plan is an effort to combat climate change, environmental changes are already affecting local trees.

“There’s a relative impact that [climate change is] having on the resilience of our trees, particularly trees that are not native. They are suffering, they are struggling. We are seeing a lot of trees having to be removed right now,” Soulliere said. “Our arborists are quite shocked at the rate of decline, which is significant. We’re seeing about 70 per cent of trees removed this year are because of that.”

Soulliere said replacing these trees with new, native trees would give them the best chance for success.

The $858,000 comes from newly assessed revenue, and will be in addition to the $1.67 million the city already spends on tree management.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

Just Posted

War bride’s oversea voyage to Canada took a leap of faith

More than 45,000 women immigrated to Canada after the Second World War

One woman’s scrapbook uncovered at Fort Rodd Hill tells story of thousands during Second World War

Joyce Margaret Whitney served in the Canadian Women’s Army Corps from 1942 to 1946

Thousands line the streets around the Legislature for Remembrance Day ceremony in Victoria

Over 70 wreaths placed around Cenotaph, honouring those who lost their lives, currently fighting

Son of Second World War veteran returns to Norway to see site of rescue, repatriation

Six-man crew crash lands in Nazi occupied territory, only known instance of entire crew surviving

Colwood house helps homeless veterans get back on their feet

Cockrell House has helped more than 100 people since it was established in 2009

VIDEO: Pups in the pool: West Shore rec centre’s Dog Swim a success

West Shore Parks and Recreation goes to the dogs Sunday night

Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

Get a jump on your holiday shopping

Victoria Jazz Orchestra concert raises funds for the Single Parents’ Resource Centre

Maria Manna on tap for the Nov. 16 performance in Victoria

Renowned men’s chorus ‘Back by Popular Demand’ in Victoria

One of Canada’s premier singing ensembles kicks off its 39th season on Nov. 16

Mexican culinary celebration fills Victoria Public Market

Taco, Tequila and Margarita Fiesta takes over the Victoria Public Market the evening of Nov. 16

Sportsnet fires Don Cherry after negative comments about immigrants

Don Cherry had said immigrants don’t wear poppies like other Canadians do

Trudeau’s new cabinet: Gender parity because it’s 2019? Or due to competence?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will soon appoint his new cabinet

Canada among three G20 countries least likely to hit emissions targets

It says Canada, South Korea and Australia are the farthest off

Conservatives’ Scheer wants Trudeau to open Parliament Nov. 25

That’s five days after Justin Trudeau is scheduled to swear in a new cabinet

Most Read