Mature tree to make way for bike lanes in the heart of Victoria’s Inner Harbour

Mature tree to make way for bike lanes in the heart of Victoria's Inner Harbour

WATCH: It has stood in the heart of Victoria’s Inner Harbour for years. Now a mature aspen tree at the intersection of Humboldt and Government is behind metal fencing. Mary Griffin explains.

In the middle of the intersection at Government and Humboldt, Janet Borlase and Terry Osborne retied handwritten notes to a fence on Thursday.

They don’t know who put them here but agree with the message.

“I was really encouraged when I saw that someone had put beautiful heart shapes saying, trees are sacred,” Borlase said.

For twenty years, Borlase, and Osborne walked past the aspen tree on their way into work and said they took it for granted. That was until they discovered the metal fence surrounding the tree on the island is not to protect it from potential damage during construction in the area.

“The fence sort of gives you the idea that the tree is going to be protected until you start seeing equipment and things all shoved inside the fence,” Borlase said.

There are big changes coming to this intersection.City of Victoria drawings show a redesign to accommodate the new bike lane along Wharf and Humboldt streets, in addition to making the pedestrian scramble-type intersection. Underground utility work is underway, and the remodeling means a sequoia had to be cut down. And the aspen tree.

A local group, Community Trees Matter Network, is concerned about the loss of the tree, according to member Janet Simpson.

“We have a council right now that’s ready to declare a state of emergency on climate change.  And how they can look at this proposal to take this tree down as something that needs to happen? Why is this a proposal. There are so many other creative ways to design this intersection so that everybody wins,” Simpson said.

“I don’t know why we can’t have the scramble with the tree still there. it’s beautiful,” Osborne said.


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