Tree defenders don’t oppose progress

Re: “Seeing the forest for the trees in urban planning,” comment, Feb. 10.

Perhaps it is a sign of our times, but it is disheartening to read such simplistic and polarizing views of the world. According to the writer, people who advocate for the preservation of trees are against all sustainable development, including new housing, bikes and bus lanes, improved sewage treatment and, for that matter, anything resembling change and progress.

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As one of many people who tried to save the much-loved tree in the heart of our city, I take issue with this characterization. I also take issue with the overall view that we must choose between trees and progress.

I and others who wanted to save the Humboldt tree do indeed see the importance of both the forest and the tree, figuratively and literally. We also see the need for sustainable development, with an emphasis on sustainable. In fact, we believe that, with a bit of imagination, it is possible to achieve all our developmental goals without having to destroy healthy, mature trees.

All too often, bulldozers and chainsaws are presented as the easiest solution, but calling that sustainable development does not make it so.

Exploring meaningful alternatives might require more creativity, more openness, more meaningful consultation and a bit more time, but isn’t it worth it?

Instead of polarizing people and pitting one group against another, why can we not work together to find solutions that benefit all, including our trees? We all love Victoria. Let’s use that to unite, rather than divide, us.

Mariann Burka


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