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Vancouver losing its tree canopies: Group

The majestic tree canopies that shade Vancouver’s streets are being frittered away, warns a local heritage group.

The majestic tree canopies that shade Vancouver’s streets are being frittered away, warns a local heritage group.

For the first time, the city’s historic street trees have been included in Heritage Vancouver’s annual list of endangered heritage sites.

“If you look at the great cities around the world,” said Donald Luxton, president of Heritage Vancouver, “one of the things that helps define them are boulevards and canopies — and we’re losing ours.”

The issue, Luxton said, is that when trees get old and need to be replaced, they’re cut down and replaced with smaller, ornamental trees — “stunted dwarfs” that lack the size and character of the original. He points to Victory Square, where several of the city’s oldest and largest bigleaf maples were cut down and were not replaced.

The Park Board, he said, needs a one-to-one replacement strategy so that when trees are taken down they are replaced by one of the same species.

Vancouver’s Park Board office was closed yesterday and could not be reached for comment.

“You lose one tree, you don’t really notice it ... by the time we notice, as the public, it’s going to be too late,” Luxton said.

“We think it’s a huge issue in terms of heritage character of the city and it’s just not being discussed.”

 
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