A Western Red Cedar at the corner of Campbell Street and Second Street in front of Roy Henry Vickers Eagle Aerie Gallery was cut down last week.
As reported in the Westerly News, Eagle Aerie Gallery CEO Jennifer Steven asked Tofino’s council to consider removing the tree because of the damage it was causing to the gallery.
District officials said the tree would be assessed during the Campbell Street construction work and these assessments sealed the tree’s fate.
“Root intrusion, evident by the visible cracking of the road and sidewalk surfaces, is extensive and will continue to become more so as time goes on,” according to a district issued media release.
“While the District of Tofino was willing to consider all reasonable measures to allow the tree to remain in place, these factors make this particular tree a poor candidate for the investment of time and money into keeping it.”
The district consulted two arborists including Don Bottrell of Dogwood Tree Services who worked on Tofino’s Eik Street Tree preservation project.
Bottrell volunteered his time to investigate the tree and agreed with the district’s hired arborist that it needed to come down.
According to the release, Bottrell concluded that the tree was in advanced decay and becoming a risk in the high traffic area.
Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne spoke to the district’s decision to remove the tree during last week’s regular council meeting.
“(Bottrell) calls himself a preservationist and I really believe that, because he was involved with the Eik Street tree as well as other tree initiatives in other communities, he would have approached it with a mind to saving it if it was at all possible,” Osborne said. “But even he recommended that the tree be removed.”
District CAO Bob MacPherson noted Bottrell volunteered to assess the tree.
The district hoped to build amenities like benches using wood from the removed tree.
Tofino put two more trees on the chopping block as two Douglas Firs stood too close to the excavation work being done and would become destabilized and a risk to the work crews and pedestrians if not removed, according to the release.
The district office assures it will plant two trees for each tree it removes.