North Vancouver residents fight to save 200-year-old cedar tree from being cut down
VANCOUVER -- A group of residents in North Vancouver are fighting to save an older cedar tree from being cut down to make way for a new development.
The tree sits on the corner of a lot at 21st Street and Lonsdale Avenue. Those protesting its removal say it’s been there more than 200 years.
“This tree should never have been in question, it’s on the corner of the plot, it’s not disturbing the land, it’s been here for 200 years,” said protest organizer Gabriel Hendry. “It’s healthy, it’s strong, it deserves to stay here and it should never have been in question that this tree be removed.”
According to the developer, Darwin Properties, the new development will include nearly 800 new homes, including non-profit and below-market rentals and seniors assisted living, plus retail and green space. The project was approved in 2017.
The corner where the cedar is located is set to become the entrance to an underground parkade. During Monday’s protest local resident Willy Miles started singing Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi.”
“They paved paradise, put up a parking lot,” Miles said. “They’re actually losing a big chance to showcase this tree and incorporate it into the development.”
In a statement, the City of North Vancouver said the developer “thoroughly investigated” all options for keeping the tree where it was.
“Unfortunately the tree conflicts with Darwin’s site grading, underground parkade access requirements and the north-south alignment of pedestrian streetscape improvements along Eastern Avenue. Additionally, the tree conflicts with overhead hydro wires,” the statement said.
Under the guidelines, if a large tree is removed the developer is required to plant three replacement ones. The city says Darwin is planting four trees for every one that is removed.
CTV News was also sent a statement from Andrew McMillan, a development manager with Darwin Properties.
“We understand the community's concerns, but the tree in question was investigated thoroughly during the city’s development application review process,” the statement said, explaining that after working with the City of North Vancouver’s planning department and arborists there were a number of factors that meant the tree needed to be removed.
“We were able to adjust the design to preserve another large cedar tree to the north and in recognition of the tree we weren't able to save, we are planting another conifer - a Douglas fir - just half a block up,” the statement continued.
Protesters believe the large cedar is set to be removed Tuesday morning, judging by the temporary parking signs erected on the street. They’re planning to be there at 7 a.m. to stop it from being removed.