Trees frequently become collateral damage during construction. With the increasing number of projects on Bank Street, the Glebe’s main business centre is losing trees – including viable canopy trees – year by year.
Sylvia Haines, a long-time Glebe resident, reached out to the Glebe Community Association (GCA) to express concern about the fate of one particular example – a Norway maple on the property of the now-closed Beer Store. “It’s a tree I’ve walked by and admired for years,” she said. “Can it be moved?”
With GCA support, Haines reached out to the development company, Succession Developments, which in turn connected her with Amica Mature Lifestyles, operating partner of the future residence on the site.
Enter Alison Keller, Amica’s site development ambassador. “I was instantly drawn to Sylvia’s passion for the maple,” she said. “I knew Amica would want to help her make sure that it was moved to a good new home.” Amica, a Canadian company that owns and operates residences for seniors (currently 28, located in Alberta, BC and Ontario), agreed to sponsor the effort.
Keller’s goal is to make sure that Amica The Glebe starts out and stays a good neighbour for residents. “We’re looking for creative approaches,” Keller said. “Trees are a natural for us. And earlier we spoke with the GCA and were urged to respect migratory patterns of birds in our design, so we have asked our architect to keep that in mind.” Keller noted that future initiatives include an intergenerational art project to decorate the portion of resident-facing hoarding that will be installed on the site and health-related lunch-and-learns of value to the community.
But where could the Norway maple go?
Haines contacted The Glebe Centre and was put in touch with Courtney Rock, who worked with the group to identify a good location on the centre’s property. Then we arranged for arborist Fred Stevens of Manotick Tree Movers to meet with us and take a look at the maple. Joining the group was Darren Kettlewell of Succession Developments, which is in charge of construction.
Stevens gave us the bad news: the maple is too large to be moved with any assurance of success. But, fortuitously, he had noticed two trees of the perfect size for transplanting, a honey locust and a hackberry, at the corner of Bank and Thornton. Happily, when we approached Amica with a request to “switch from one older tree to two young ones,” they quickly accepted. Because they are on city road allowance, a removal permit is required. This was already in the works but now, instead of being destroyed, the trees are being given a new lease on life.
“I was deeply disappointed about the maple,” Haines said. “But I’m glad that these two native species trees will have a long life ahead of them.” She has requested some of the wood from the Norway maple, which she will commission a local artist to sculpt for her home.
As part of the effort to save the tree, we involved Andrew Peck, executive director of the Glebe Business Improvement Area (BIA). Earlier, in a meeting with the GCA Environment Committee (co-chairs Angela Keller-Herzog and myself), he indicated that the BIA wants to see an even “greener” Glebe and aims to work with the GCA, businesses and the city to achieve this goal. “Part of what people come to the Glebe for is its wonderful setting including its many beautiful trees,” he said. I’ll provide updates on our collaborative efforts in future articles.
So, look for the hackberry and honey locust to make their debut soon at 77 Monk Street on a Glebe Centre green space that had lost a tree. While no longer on Bank Street, the trees are next to a much-used seating area for seniors and visitors, as well as a popular sidewalk and bike path that are used to get to Lansdowne.
“It’s going to be fabulous to watch these shade trees grow in the coming years,” Haines said.
“We’re delighted that we were able to work with Sylvia and the GCA to make this happen,” Keller added. “Amica looks forward to more exciting cooperative efforts.”
As for the GCA, helping to grow this kind of mutually beneficial cooperation among individual Glebe residents, organizations, service providers and businesses is what we’re all about. But we also know that a broader approach is needed to retain and enhance our community’s canopy. That’s why we will continue to push for an actively environmentalist city council that will work with the community to make Ottawa’s Urban Forest Management Plan a priority and a success.
Please take a look at our collective efforts at www.treeactionnow.net/.
Jennifer Humphries is co-chair of the Glebe Community Association’s Environment Committee. You can contact her at email@example.com.