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Guest Blog: University District Trees: Retain, Relocate, Reuse and Rebirth

November 16, 2016
The following is a guest blog from urban advocate Richard White. Thank you, Richard, for your contribution to the University District community. 

I don’t know (and quite frankly, never gave it much thought) if every developer has a Tree Strategy. But I recently found out that the West Campus Development Trust  (WCDT) has one for their new University District on the western edge of the University of Calgary campus.  And a very ambitious strategy at that!

The first strategy is pretty obvious – to RETAIN as many of the existing trees as possible by incorporating them in the future plans for parks and pathways.

The second strategy – to RELOCATE existing trees (based on their age and health) to a location that will not be impacted by future development i.e. beside the south storm water pond or behind the Alberta Children’s Hospital.  Some of the species being transplanted include Bur Oak, Scots Pine, Mountain Ash and Spruce.

The third strategy – to REUSE trees that due to health and/or age, can’t be relocated. They will be harvested for lumber and incorporated into the elements of the new district, possibly for street furniture or for architectural detailing on buildings.

What I found really cool is the fourth strategy, the REBIRTH, where the roots from mature trees on the site will be used to grow other trees at a nursery. The new trees (with the same DNA as the old trees) will then be replanted somewhere in the new University District.  How cool is that!

Last Word

Tree removal and harvesting (the third strategy) began in February 2015, tree relocating (the second strategy) was done this spring with site preparation beginning in fall. When it comes to commitment to environmental sustainability and social responsibility, WCDT walks the talk.

– Richard White, Everyday Tourist

 

ABOUT RICHARD:
Richard is an experienced everyday tourist. Over the past 30 years, his “day job” has taken him from scientist to director/curator of a public art gallery to executive director of downtown business association to director of 3D animation studio to consultant. In 2000, Richard was named Calgarian of the Year by Cityscope magazine (now Avenue magazine) for his passion in championing the revitalization of Downtown, especially Stephen Avenue Walk.  In 2005, he received an Alberta Centennial Medal in recognition of his significant contribution through his leadership and community involvement. Richard is as passionate an urban flaneur in his home city of Calgary, Alberta. His monthly column in the Calgary Herald’s (Saturday Condo) section on urban living, urban design and development is widely read (samples in Articles & Media section of website). He can also be followed on twitter @everydaytourist.


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