Re: “Underground utilities the way to go”, March 16 Mirror.
I found several aspects of your editorial regarding underground utilities most interesting. In particular, since I have been involved in developing a subdivision, your comments “… there’s so many trees in the city except for in the newer subdivisions where the tendency is to clear cut the property before building houses.” and “… new subdivisions can afford to retain trees because all services are put underground”.
Services are put underground in new subdivisions because that is the standard to which they are constructed because at some time a city council had the foresight to decide that long term aesthetics and maintenance costs considerations were more important than increased development costs. That was good. The increased infrastructure development costs led to the creation of smaller lots. Financially responsible for the developer, and somewhat ironically, not incompatible with the “sustainable” objectives embraced by our current city Council.
The not so good part is that attempting to retain trees leads to all kinds of problems. Speaking from personal experience, attempting to leave aesthetic, sound, safe native trees after allowing for roadways, building locations and driveways is a monumental challenge. Naturally, the first good wind that comes along and takes out some of these trees creates incremental cleanup costs, not to mention the aspect of liability.
Then to add the environmental twist, should an eagle with a yen for urban living decide to try to set up housekeeping in one of the remaining trees, the zealous application of regulations regarding “preservation of the eagle tree” requires that there be NO activity within a 60 metre radius of the tree! What are we supposed to do…..abandon the intruding homes…..close the streets…… don’t cut the grass in the back yard?
I think there is room for a compromise. Let’s consider that there are forests, rural areas, and developed areas. Let’s leave the forests and their management to…wait for it…the Ministry of Forests. How about letting the people who have invested in rural acreages have their horses, pastures, and agricultural opportunities, and with their choice of forested areas. And for the city, why not realize that there does not appear to be a shortage of eagles (if you don’t believe me just go up to the landfill on Argonaut Road and get your fill of these majestic scavengers) and quit worrying about saving trees in the city.