Resigned to the loss of trees

TREES
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
–Joyce Kilmer

The 300 block of Second street will be rebuilt beginning the first day after Canada Day. It is a huge project replacing major sewer and water lines, tearing up curbing and replacing sidewalks.
As part of the project, 11 trees will be removed from the boulevard. Take a photo of what once was and will never be again.
The thought of the loss brought back memories from grade school of one of Joyce Kilmar’s poems that our class memorized.
One only has to look down the 200 and 300 block of Scott Street to see how barren the street looks without its tree canopy.
In the early ’80s, the merchants planted the trees to make the shopping area more esthetically pleasing to shoppers. The merchants paid for the trees.
Now, if one stands in the centre of Portage and Second and looks west down the street, it is barren of trees. However, one should take time now to look east from that location and see a more pleasing tree-lined street to reside in.
A recent study in Winnipeg noted that having tree-lined boulevards added $200 in tax revenue from each home on the block to the coffers of the city. Just in municipal tax revenue, the trees are a valuable resource that provides funding throughout their lifetime.
Removing those trees will in all likelihood reduce the value of homes on the block, resulting in a lost tax revenue to Fort Frances.
It has been attested by town officials that tree root systems cause problems with home sewers, but with modern technology tree roots are no longer a problem, as other Canadian communities such as Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, and London continue to plant boulevard trees as both an environmental and energy-conservation method.
The trees also hold soil and absorb great amounts of water following rain storms and help reduce the storm sewer runoff.
If the roots are a problem, the mayor and council could enact a policy that would restrict planting of a tree on a boulevard to be not within a four- or five-metre location where the sewer and water line crosses a boulevard.
It appears that the trees help keep our air cleaner and their shade reduces home and business owners’ energy needs through the spring, summer and fall season.
In larger centres, the trees are looked at as a safety measure protecting pedestrians from busy thoroughfares. No street is busier than Second Street and the protection of pedestrians should be considered.
Residents are required to maintain the boulevards that front their property. The expectation is that boulevards should be planted with grass and be trimmed regularly.
At one time, when the majestic arching elms died off, the community leaders encouraged residents to replace those trees with new varieties. Many did and the trees planted on the 300 block of Second Street were planted in the program. It made for a much more inviting neighborhood where the trees provided shade to walkers and, during rainstorms, provided shelter.
Under the town’s Asset Management Program, Fort Frances is required to replace those trees in some location in the community. They just won’t be put back in the area where the original trees were removed.
I am resigned to the loss of trees on the boulevard in my neighborhood. Maybe in future, council will reconsider and create rules so that trees can once again grace our streets.

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