Delay in removing French Creek eagle tree gives conservation group hope

WatchEnvironmental group wants province to review its permit for the tree to be removed and the nest relocated

The return of two eagles to a designated eagle nesting tree, near Parksville, has an environmental group hoping it will buy them some time to protect it.

The tree has been deemed a danger to fall and is slated to be cut down.

Those wanting to protect the tree and protect the area from development are hoping the wait might allow the province to reassess whether the tree even needs to be cut down.

An eagle and its mate have been in the nest this week preparing to raise some young in the tree again.

“They’re bringing in branches. They’re nest building. they’re occupying the nest they’re defending the territory so those are all strong signals that they plan to raise another family here,” said Denise Foster, of Save French Creek Estuary.

But this may be the last time they will be able to raise a family here.

The tree is at risk of falling down. The owner of the property the tree sits on has a permit to relocate the nest and cut the tree down.

The tree also sits on a 3.2-hectare development site where a Vancouver property company plans future housing and 350,000 square feet of commercial space.

Local conservation group Save French Creek Estuary wants a provincial review before the Eagles’ tree is cut.

“You have the developer who has an interest in developing the property. The bald eagle nest tree is in the way of that development. The developer hires a company. The company doesn’t take into consideration all the information in regards to activity in the nest and a permit is issued,” said Foster.

But a director of the development company says the tree has to come down.

“The eagle tree and the development are not connected in that sense. The tree was determined to be unsafe and that still remains so the plan is to remove the eagles and then the development plans are what they’re going to be without the tree there,” said Quin Griesdale.

Griesdale says they’ve missed the window for this year to cut the tree down but well-respected Hancock Wildlife Foundation will help with relocating the nest.

“It’s not something that we’ve taken lightly. The removal of this tree is a safety hazard and that’s really the most important thing to understand.”

Cutting down the tree is now slated for the end of next summer.

CHEK News previously reported on the concerns of Save French Creek Estuary about the tree being cut down in August 2019.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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