Staff at the City of Parksville are asking for more money to deal with dying Western Red Cedars.
According to city staff, the trees are suffering because of climate change, so many are dying and becoming safety hazards.
Kathy Paul has views from her Parksville home of Shelly Creek Park – a place where many of the western red cedars aren’t fairing well.
“Over the past years that we’ve lived here we’ve lost probably 20 or more trees in the forest that we walk through across the road and probably five in the little park beside the house and you see it everywhere in town. you see them dying,” said Paul.
Across the South Coast, Western Red Cedars have been suffering for years as climate change has led to warmer and drier weather.
The City of Parksville knows it well. They’ve seen a massive die-off of the trees in recent years.
“We have removed probably 50 percent of the western red cedars that were native within the areas of the green spaces that remain in the City of Parksville,” said Martin Guy, Parksville’s Manager of Parks and Facilities.
But there hasn’t been enough budget for all the work.
Staff are now asking council for $150,000 over three years to properly cut back or remove dying cedars.
“We will be replanting of course. Replanting with evergreen species native to the area as well as some deciduous trees as well. Most likely we won’t be putting back any western red cedar though,” said Martin.
Parksville’s mayor, Ed Mayne, says this is one example of municipalities having to deal with climate change.
“We just look around and we can see it there’s definitely climate change happening and we’ve got to adapt to it,” said Mayne.
Back near Shelly Creek Park Paul is lamenting the loss.
“[It’s] very sad cause they’re beautiful big trees and we’ve lost the squirrels in there. We don’t have squirrels in there anymore I don’t think,” said Paul.
Paul says she’s glad to see new trees being planted but she says seeing the western red cedars phase-out is quite the change.