February 17, 2016
Look at a tree and what do you see: something to be cut down and manufactured into tooth picks, match sticks, 2x4s, particle board, engineered beams, bridge decks, high-rise buildings, fire wood? Of course. All of that and much more is in a tree. It just takes imagination, determination, the equipment to do it, and the marketing network to keep you in business. Nothin’ to it.
Approach Chetwynd from Wabi Hill in the dark of the night with the bright lights of the city spread out in the valley. What do you see? When your focus is tuned you will see the lights of the boulevard guiding #97 through town – whether we sleep or wake. As you enter you will notice the wide-spreading guard trees to right and left marking your way. Drive with care.
For longer than most of us remember we’ve taken our boulevard trees for granted, simply assuming that year by year the cycle of seasons would display itself along our boulevard. Fresh green in May to be followed by the mature hues of summer transforming to the reds and golds of autumn and finally the resting bare twigs of winter. Like the ancient promise of the cycle of the seasons and the harvests, it has never failed.
But years take their toll – on trees, cars, and their drivers.
We might not have noticed (probably didn’t notice), but here one, there another, and over there a few more our boulevard trees have succumbed to time, seasons, insects, and decay. We’ve lost quite a number without our notice.
Now the time has come as time always comes, and we have to face the facts of life and death, even of trees. Our plan is to remove all trees between Nicholson Road and the junction of 97 and 29. Further, the plan is to replace them with fast-growing ash having an expected lifespan of 80 years. Of course I’m saddened. I won’t last long enough to see them reach full height or full breadth. But I do remember when the first trees were planted decades ago and if you are between ten and twenty in age, you’ll be able to smile, when you’re fifty, at your beautiful trees, and remember when they went into the ground.
Now, as we propose to replace some trees, you might remember the objections to planting them: you’ll be hiding my business; people will drive right on by; my business will suffer because of your silly ideas of beauty. Well, the business is still prospering and it’s the trees that finally have to give place to the next generation.
Look at a tree and what do you see? For years we’ve taken our trees for granted while we enjoyed their beauty and their shade. Chetwynd’s boulevard trees are talked up in the region. Good stewardship now means that we have to plan and act to leave a legacy for the next human generation to enjoy. Our pain will be its pleasure.
Merlin Nichols, Mayor