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LETTER: Loss of trees at Elk Lake carries cost to the environment

I’m writing to express my concern over the proposed removal of mature trees located at Hamsterly Beach, Elk Lake. After communicating with Saanich Parks operations supervisor, I’ve been informed that the proposed removal of potentially 22 trees is to make way for the construction of a new washroom facility.

With the onset of climate change and the rapid negative impact this is having on our environment, I am certain there must be a better place to build this proposed facility. As we walk through the park on a daily basis, we have seen the extensive death in one of our most iconic trees, Thuja plicata – western red cedar. Saanich really must preserve native tree species, especially those that are more likely to withstand our changing climate, like the Douglas firs that are currently proposed to be cut down.

With ongoing study and understanding of the importance of preserving habitat, there is greater knowledge that older trees are the best at capturing carbon, certainly more so than newly planted, young trees that in addition, will require years of extra watering and care to ensure their survival.

I’d ask for the municipality to reconsider the placement of this facility, there is much more room and available space that’s already clear where the new washroom could be moved to without the removal of mature native tree species.

Em McCormick

Saanich