Never so obvious is Nelson’s canopy than at this moment. The trees of our community are bursting out of their winter rest and bringing our streets alive with colour. The morning drive to work or an evening stroll is a true treat for the senses.
Trees are a vital part of every community’s infrastructure. They help distinguish a town’s character. In a historic mountain burg like Nelson, where the climate provides for great diversity, the canopy helps define us for those who live here and those who visit.
Like all infrastructure, trees need to be managed. Though not lifeless like a sewer pipe or sidewalk, making the effort to ensure balance for the present and future is vital.
On Monday night in council chambers, politicians passed a bylaw that maps out a plan and provides policy for our urban forest. City Hall has provided future leaders a framework for managing trees. Instead of one-offs and band-aid solutions, city staff and community leaders now have a document to turn to.
The paperwork came about due to concern about the decline of our green infrastructure. Though everybody is fond of the foliage, it seems we have taken what grows out of the ground for granted. Like any neglect, that has now come to haunt us.
Trees are not immortal. Over time they die, their limbs dangerous and removal is required. As we’ve learned, when a tree falls in Nelson plenty people hear. When trees are slated for removal — the doughnut tree, the Lions Park poplars, the Baker Street lindens — people get upset. Replacing something that provides shelter and beauty tends to stir strong emotions. That’s understandable.
We can only hope this new map to our city’s green future is one which allows both the public and politicians to better understand the importance of proper planning. Trees are an important asset for our community and now we have a commitment to seeing they remain that way.