trees in white rock

It appears with each passing day that there are fewer and fewer trees in this city. I suspect there are a number of reasons for this.

Some people want their homes to be brighter, so removing a tree might allow for more sunlight. Others grow tired of caring for or cleaning up after a tree — one that is prone to aphid infestation or sheds a lot of branches in winter storms. I understand and get accept those reasons.

And some just want to change the landscaping on their property. I can begrudgingly accept that too.

What I have a really hard time accepting is the fear that a tree will fall on their house, or annoyance that it blocks their view of the ocean. Both are often irrational and selfish.

Certainly trees can become diseased or destabilized. But it seems so rare that a tree is removed because it is actually at risk of falling. More often the decision is simply based on paranoia, not a knowledgeable assessment of the tree.

This reminds me of the problem of too many people going to their doctor insisting they need antibiotics because they have a cold. Yet, antibiotics only work against bacteria; viruses cause colds. They just want to feel better and their anxiety about being sick for longer short circuits rational thought.

Too often I hear people insisting they need to cut down their tree because it will fall. Their evidence is that it is a tall tree, has twin leaders, or sways in the wind. But the presence of any of these traits does not indicate imminent root failure. Their overwhelming fear of damage to their house prevents that rational deduction.

It seems forgotten that White Rock has a view, but it also is a view. Trees are the view. I am constantly being told that the greatest beauty of White Rock is in its natural beauty. Trees are a huge part of our natural beauty. But yet, when a tree gets in the way of someone’s view of the water, many residents become obsessive about cutting it down.

This is all taking, no giving. It demonstrates little concern for the air we breathe, birds that live here, and water that falls and drains into the bay.

What I find even more disappointing is how this culture of view-mania even infects neighbourhoods that don’t and never will have a view of the ocean. Or has a view so miniscule that turning White Rock into a stucco and asphalt jungle just for the sake or that glimmer of water seems so petty, shortsighted and utterly ridiculous considering the impact on the whole community.

People come here for the natural beauty, but yet it seems we’re cutting it all down as fast as we can. We accept an individual property owner cannibalizing our natural beauty to get a higher resale value. But the whole community loses. We lose another little piece of the reason people are here.



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