The Royal City Park Material Management Plan went to the Community Development and Environmental Services committee this past Monday. One of the key recommendations in the plan is to remove and replace 52 high-risk trees in 2010.
The loss of 52 trees will have a significant impact on the look and feel of the park. As a regular user of the park, I can attest to the emotional attachment that the community feels for the trees and the impact it will have on the park experience.
I also recognize that the city should have been investing heavily in the last 25 years on regular species renewal planting, tree pruning and better park management practices (ie. cutting with whipper-snippers). This is true for our entire parks system, not just RCP.
However, “could have” and “should haves” will do us no good today. It’s 2009 and it’s time to plan for the future of the park — now — even if we won’t benefit, our children will.
The recommended plan is a balanced approach, basically:
1. Remove the trees that are at risk.
2. Plant new trees immediately, large calliper native species.
3. Schedule succession plantings to increase tree cover over the next 5-10 years.
4. Improve maintenance practices to increase survival rates.
I agree with this plan. I know that this will mean the park will look very different next year, and the year after and for this, I am sad. But our children will thank us. Here’s a good example — the naturalization efforts in Silvercreek Park (between McCrae and the Hanlon) are now reaping the benefits of a plan that was implemented 20 years ago. In another 20 years, Royal City Park will be in better shape than it ever was — diversity of species, increased canopy and healthier trees.
Would love to hear thoughts from park users and community residents….