So just what is more important?

Growing up in Fort Frances, one of the most beautiful times of the year was fall.
When the community was in its infancy, a conscience decision was made to plant elm trees along the streets on the boulevards. They grew and in the fall, the tall, elegant branches canopied across the streets in a gold umbrella of leaves.
Alas, Dutch elm disease quickly erased 90 percent of those trees from the community and only a few remain today. They are just starting to turn yellow.
Every young person who left to fight for Canada in the Second World War had an elm tree planted along the highway, and their names were on a stake at the base of the tree.
The trees were to remember the sacrifice of that generation for Canada. My father’s tree was near Devlin.
With various highway projects, the majority of those elm trees also have disappeared today. And the remembrances of those citizens is being lost.
With the disappearance of the elms through Fort Frances, the Fort Frances Jaycees, in co-operation with the Parks Board of Fort Frances, created a project called the “Greening of Fort Frances” to replace all the dead elms on the streets.
A variety of species were offered to residents to plant on the boulevards in front of their homes. Ash, silver maple, and basswood were given away for two years.
Many residents with power lines running above the boulevard opted to plant flowering crab trees that would never grow tall enough to reach the wires, but produced plum and pink and occasional white flowers in the spring and attracted birds in the fall and winter, which fed on the small fruit that was produced.
Many of the younger trees on the boulevards throughout the community came from that project in the late 1970s.
The town’s official plan from that era, and more recently, continued to encourage the planting of trees throughout the community to make Fort Frances an attractive place to live. In the development of the waterfront and its pathways along the river, a great variety of trees were planted.
Today, they help make the waterfront a beautiful place to walk and bike.
But we now learn that even though trees make the community a more beautiful place to live year-round, community policy now prevents residents from making their streets as attractive as in past years.
It’s always been an advantage that homes with trees on the lot or boulevard were much more in demand to buyers than similar homes in tree-less neighborhoods. Because municipal taxes are based on assessment values, those homes in treed neighborhoods seemed to have higher assessment and thus brought more tax revenue to the community.
In today’s modern construction, the old cast iron sewer pipes to homes or the tar paper pipes that enabled roots to penetrate and block the pipes are a thing of the past.
Having read the rationale behind having trees on boulevards, the next step for the community will be to have all the unsightly hydro poles removed that block stop signs and make snow removal in the winter more difficult.
In the redevelopment of Scott Street in 1981 and 1982, the merchants paid to have trees planted in the sidewalks of the 200 and 300 blocks of Scott Street. They add to the beauty of the community.
The question remains: “Is the attractiveness and beauty of the community more important than the ease of street maintenance?”
Or, “Is street maintenance more important that the attractiveness of the streetscape in Fort Frances?”

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