Some parents of a Guelph elementary school are concerned about the loss of playground shade when four mature maple trees are taken down this summer.
The trees sit in the city’s right-of-way along Clarke Street West and hang over onto Victory Public School property, neighbouring Exhibition Park.
“They’re quite old trees. They really shade the playground which is otherwise just totally asphalt,” said Leslie Dema, who has two young children who attend the school. “A few of us parents think it’s a real shame to see them go.”
The reason they’re slated to come down, explained Dave Beaton, the city’s program manager of forestry and sustainable landscapes, is that Alectra Utilities is upgrading its infrastructure in the area and plans to replace utility poles and raise the height of power lines.
In order to do so, they’d need to trim back the trees, which is something often done around power lines.
However, in this case, Beaton said trimming the trees back would impact their already ailing health and could pose a safety hazard if left there.
“Unfortunately … these trees all have some flaws in them,” Beaton said, explaining that while those flaws aren’t immediately critical, trimming would impact the healthiest part of the trees and permanently damage them.
“They are nearing the end of their lifespan,” he added. “If the trees were in better health, they would have been trimmed and left alive.”
Tree-trimming began in the area Tuesday, with these trees trimmed on Wednesday.
Trimming is all Alectra has in mind, a spokesperson told GuelphToday, noting it's the city's decision whether to remove the trees.
With access needed from the school side in order to remove the trees, that work won’t happen until after classes are let out for the summer, Beaton noted.
In place of the removed trees, the city intends to plant several younger ones.