Prince Albert residents upset over removal of trees
SASKATOON -- A group of residents from 12th Street East says they didn’t receive enough notice before the City of Prince Albert removed trees from their boulevard in preparation for the replacement of lead water service connections and pipes underneath the street and sidewalk.
“There were trees all along here. The majority of trees they cut down along here were perfectly healthy, either young or mature trees. We did an inventory and less than 10 percent were rotten,” said Allison Attree.
She represents a group of homeowners and renters from the neighbourhood. She said in 2011, the treed canopy over the street, shaded sidewalks and historic charm were some of the reasons she purchased a house in the area.
More than 100 trees were removed to make way for heavy construction equipment that will be used to dig trenches for the water pipe replacements.
Public works director Wes Hicks says the city gave residents one week’s notice before the tree removal began.
“We take cutting trees down very seriously and this is only the second time in eight years that we had to take down all the trees to replace a water main. And there will be a complete plan for replanting the trees next spring,” said Hicks.
The infrastructure there is about 110 years old and that limited the city’s options for the project. He says even if the trees weren’t covering the pipes, the construction crews have to follow proper sloping standards for trenching and need extra room to work.
12th Street is also narrow compared to other areas. It is a nine-metre roadway. A standard roadway is 11 metres, says Hicks.
Attree says the tree removal goes against the city’s Urban Forest Management Plan. She would like the city’s policy changed to give more notice to residents about tree removal and major construction projects. She says the changes might help residents of other neighbourhoods preserve established foliage.
The issue is on the agenda for the City Council meeting on Monday.