The Victoria Citizens Action Network tied yellow ribbons to 26 trees on Douglas Street as part of a campaign to prevent them from being cut down by B.C. Transit.

Locals fear loss of trees in Douglas Street bus plan

A group of activists are pushing back against B.C. Transit after learning the company plans on cutting down dozens of trees.

A group of activists are pushing back against B.C. Transit after learning the company plans on cutting down dozens of trees to make room for an express bus lane on Douglas Street.

Earlier this week, the Victoria Citizens Action Network, a group of citizens working together on local and regional environmental and social justice issues, tied yellow ribbons to 26 trees between Hillside Street and Tolmie Avenue as part of a campaign to stop B.C. Transit from cutting down the trees.

The $1.6-million plan will add a dedicated southbound bus lane on Douglas, by widening the road by one metre and narrowing existing travel lanes to eventually run rapid transit between downtown and the West Shore.

However, locals are concerned about the loss of the trees, many of which are dozens of years old and were planted in 1921 to honour local soldiers who died in World War I, activists said.

“Some of these are huge, mature heritage trees and cutting them down would make the area very unsafe for pedestrians and cyclists,” said Stuart Hertzog, coordinator of the Victoria Citizens Action Network. “It would make it not a nice place to be.”

Hertzog first heard about the plan to tear down the trees earlier this month after B.C. Transit presented their plan to the Victoria Regional Transit Commission.

“I was fuming mad. This makes the city less liveable,” he said. “People don’t like to walk in areas like that because it’s dangerous.”

However, B.C. Transit said roughly 20 trees on the stretch between Finlayson and Burnside Road east are to be removed, pending Victoria city council approval.

“Ppart of the plan is to remove the trees and also keep these other trees up,” said Drew Snider, spokesperson with B.C. Transit.

“A lot of what is in this plan involves preserving sidewalk and boulevard space as much as possible. It’s not going to be pinching out pedestrians. But what this is going to do, is it’s going to allow buses to travel through there unhindered by traffic.”

Snider also noted according to city park staff, the trees were planted in the early 1960s not in the 1920s. Once the lane is complete, 23 trees will be replanted to replace the ones cut down.

The plan will go before Victoria city council next month. The lane is expected to be complete in 2017.

 

 

Just Posted

Victoria Police host Faith-Based Safety Forum in light of recent religious attacks

More than 35 faith-based leaders voice concerns, air questions

Still barriers to abortion access on Vancouver Island

Experts say transportation, support, doctors can be barriers to accessing abortion

Oak Bay dog walk benefits guide dogs

Two more walks set for Sunday in Victoria and Colwood

Kelowna toddler suffers cracked skull after fall from balcony

Neighbour who found the two-year-old boy said he has a bump the size of a golf ball on his head

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Support growing for orphaned Okanagan child after father dies in highway crash

Family thanks emergency crews for assistance in traumatic incident

RCMP probe if teen was intentionally hit with ski pole by mystery skier on B.C. mountain

The incident happened on March 20 on Grouse Mountain. Police are urging witnesses to come forward

Pipeline protester chimes in on Justin Trudeau’s B.C. fundraising speech

The government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion

Baby boom seniors putting pressure on B.C. long-term care: report

B.C. leads Canada in growth of dementia, dependence on care

UPDATED: B.C. man says he’ll take People’s Party lawsuit as far as he can

Federal judge shut down Satinder Dhillon’s ‘nonsensical’ motion to bar use of PPC name in byelection

Canada stripping citizenship from Chinese man over alleged marriage fraud

The move comes amid severely strained relations between Ottawa and Beijing

Most Read