It’s stressed, but not dead, say municipal officials.
Construction on Squamish’s downtown park has prompted one of Stan Clarke Park’s largest trees to lose its leaves. But the tree will be saved, District of Squamish spokesperson Kate O’Connell said.
The district is in the midst of completing approximately half a million dollars worth of upgrades to the park. Construction on the project started last month. The plan called for the removal of seven cherry trees, but not the giant maple tree which now stands surrounded by a carpet of yellow and red leaves.
A week ago, district employees noticed the approximately 45-year-old tree’s leaves were changing colour, O’Connell said. District officials called in a landscape architect, whom told municipal employees the tree was stressed by the proximity of the current work.
“It is still alive,” O’Connell said.
The district is monitoring the situation and water the tree daily, she noted.
Environmental advocate Debra McBride isn’t convinced the tree will survive. After losing her fight to keep the park’s 45-year-old cherry trees, McBride said she’s sad to see the maple in such a state.
“I think there are so many people who should have done something,” she said. “People aren’t paying attention.”
The last thing McBride said she wants to see happen is for another tree to be axed unnecessarily.
At the time that the cherry blossom trees were removed, the district’s capital projects engineer Greig Garland suggested local schools and community organizations propagate the trees. Residents could then plant the saplings throughout town.
Several citizens have shown interest in the initiative, O’Connell said. The district is currently nurturing 60 cuttings.
District officials also offered arts groups the cherry tree wood. Officials are in negotiations with artists and some wood has been provided to Squamish seniors for a wood carving class.
The Stan Clarke Park overhaul is anticipated to be complete by mid-September.