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Christmas tree shortage affecting North Vancouver tree lot

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Lynn Valley Lions Club has been running an annual Christmas tree lot for more than 30 years.

It typically sells upwards of 1,600 trees each season, but this year the organization can only offer roughly 800 trees for sale.

The club’s president Eric Muira says it’s due to an import ban that was temporarily in place in the United States.

“There was some concerns over some type of infestation...Apparently there was none, but unfortunately by the time the ban was lifted and we reordered, we could get less stock so we had to adapt,” Muira said.

Revenue from the tree lot supports local clubs and organizations throughout North Vancouver.

“It funds the operation of the club to make sure we can serve the community.”

Volunteers have been busy making Christmas decorations to sell at the event to help offset the decline in revenue.

The lot opened Friday and typically they’d be open for three weeks. Due to the low stock, they’re expecting to be in business for just seven days.

But something Muira wasn’t willing to compromise on, was the price of the Chirstmas trees.

"We've decided, unlike everything else in the world, we're going to keep our prices the same as last year,” he said.

“We know lots of people are stressed with everything that's going on, but we're definitely going to make less."

The Canadian Christmas Tree Association (CCTA) points to a number of reasons for a shortage, including extreme weather, disease and a decline in the number of Christmas tree farms in the last decade due to economic factors and retirement.

"We've lost 1,000 farms, which is equivalent to 20,000 acres,” said Shirley Brennan, the executive director of the CCTA.

She says they’re working to rectify many of the supply issues, through student outreach and branching into agri-tourism as a way to encourage youth to enter the Christmas tree industry.

"The unfortunate thing is we can work out ways today, but it takes 10 to 12 years to grow a Christmas tree," Brennan said.

With files from CTV’s Allison Bamford. 

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