WATCH: Saanich residents of Grange road celebrated Thursday after the CRD announced they changed their plans so no trees will be cut down for the installation of a sewer pipeline. But costs will go up and construction may take longer. And even now, residents say they fear some trees will still be impacted. Luisa Alvarez has the details.
The ribbons on trees along Grange Road in Saanich began as a symbol to let people know that they were going to be cut down. But Thursday with a smile on her face area resident Robin Duncan removed them.
This after finding out personally from CRD staff that the trees would be spared.
“I’m Just glad that the whole community including our Councillors and representatives and now the project team seems to be on the same page about this,” said area resident Simon McVaugh-Smock.
It took effort and support from both Saanich council and hundreds of area residents, who signed a petition that was hand delivered at the CRD’s monthly board meeting Wednesday.
“We heard from residents whose values were different than we anticipated so we are happy to be able to adjust,” said Elizabeth Scott, deputy project director for the CRD wastewater treatment project.
Originally, the sewer pipe was to go into an already existing rock trench on the east side of the road but in order to save the trees, the CRD shifted the alignment west.
A change that comes with consequences.
“There will be costs and additional time of construction along that street because we will now have to blast some rock to make a new trench,” said Scott.
Although Scott says how much more it will cost and how much longer the work will take isn’t yet known.
And the blasting that would come along with the new plan has residents still worried.
“I’ve heard from arborists that blasting can do some irreparable root damage,” said Duncan.
Neighbours say it is a win on paper but they won’t be satisfied until construction is complete and every tree remains standing.
“We are feeling cautiously optimistic that we are going to get to keep the trees,” said neighbour and former CRD Chair David Cubberly.
Their hope now is that they stay in the loop throughout the entire process.
“Given the history of how this all happened I think it’s really critical that we are included in that communication,” said Duncan.
Construction will start early next year, and for now, residents are celebrating their win.