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North Vancouver protesters try to save centuries-old cedar tree

Last Updated Mar 16, 2021 at 1:16 am PDT

Summary

Protestors are trying to prevent a tree from being chopped down to make room for redevelopment in North Vancouver

Another protest is planned, an online petition had gathered close to 2,000 signatures by Monday night

NORTH VANCOUVER (CityNews) — Dozens of protestors are hoping to save a massive, 205-year-old cedar tree in North Vancouver before it’s chopped down to make room for redevelopment.

The tree currently stands on the corner of 21st Street and Eastern Avenue, and axing the tree is part of a plan to redevelop the Harry Jerome Neighbourhood Lands into a mixed-use development of residential and commercial space and a new park.

Protesters gathered Monday to rally to save the tree.

“We want to stand here today to be its voice because it’s important to us in North Vancouver and we believe cutting it down tarnishes what we believe is important for North Vancouver. Here we value the ocean, the mountains, the forest. Why are we striving to cut down 205-year-old trees?” says organizer Gabriel Hendry.

“We all just want to save this cedar tree.”

The City of North Vancouver announced back in December it had signed leases and issued development permits to Darwin Properties and Sunrise Senior Living. Revenue from the redevelopment will go towards a new Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre.

“We’re hoping today for the reevaluation of the plot and the inclusion of the tree in further developments here on this land,” Hendry says.

Squamish Nation Elder Donna Miranda is urging people to join the fight to save the tree.

“I’m imploring anyone, if they have any influence, Darwin Properties, City of North Vancouver, to change the plans and leave this tree the way it is. I’m happy the Harry Jerome centre is being reconstructed but leave this tree as part of the heritage in honor of Harry Jerome who supported native people,” she says.

When asked about the tree the City of North Vancouver directed CityNews to contact the site developer.

In an email, Darwin Properties said the tree was investigated during the city’s development application review process.

“After working with the City of North Vancouver’s planning department and arborists to explore options, it was clear a number of factors would not allow for its preservation, most significantly its location which is in conflict with new pedestrian access, below-grade structure, building envelope, and incoming services off Eastern Avenue.”

Another protest is planned for Tuesday, and an online petition had gathered close to 2,000 signatures by Monday night.

“We hope it’s not going to happen and we’re going to do our best to stop it from happening in a peaceful, respectful way,” Hendry says.