Neighbours lament death of Emily, the iconic Cordova Bay oak tree

Urban development means continued loss of urban tree canopy

Emily the tree is dead. She was felled in the name of development.

Emily, if you weren’t aware, is the name bestowed by locals to the iconic pin oak tree whose scarlet leaves invigorated the tired Cordova Bay Plaza with a splash of life. Whether you knew Emily by name or not, you couldn’t miss the giant tree, an oasis in the deserted Cordova Bay Plaza parking lot. Recently, Emily inspired an outcry from a number of Cordova Bay villagers in the final moments before the new Cordova Bay redevelopment was approved. (The removal of Emily and other trees were included in the plans.)

The new shopping centre is comprised of three four-storey buildings with multiple ground-floor commercial suites, underground parking and 91 residential homes.

And so, it was a down moment earlier this month as villagers happened upon the iconic Emily who, for the first time in decades, was no longer in the regal upright stance overlooking the Haro Straight. Instead, Emily was reduced to logs in a box.

Steve Corner was among those who took the chance to memorialize the great oak. “It was a sad and unnecessary ending to [Emily’s] life,” said Corner. “[Emily] could have provided many more years for all to enjoy with a little thought in the design of the new development.”

Before it was felled, the tree inspired 18-year-old Claremont grad Matthew Cain to paint it. He not only captured the tree’s essence but also spoke to Saanich council – prior to the development approval – on behalf of retaining the tree for its spiritual and community value.

Others equally lamented the loss of Emily.

Development continues to result in urban tree canopy loss at a consistent rate across Greater Victoria and Saanich. Most urban trees are felled for development, which remains strong, likely at a pace similar to the 378 hectares of tree cover lost between 2005 and 2011.

reporter@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

West Shore RCMP investigating after parking lot carjacking in Langford

Man was thrown from his vehicle near Millstream Road McDonald’s Monday night

Catch last call and a cheap ride home: Late night buses coming to Victoria in 2019

New plan will extend service on weekends with last trip leaving downtown at 3 a.m.

WATCH: Booze, weed both have fatal consequences

Video shows how easily impairment affects driving

Mackenzie Interchange pump failure sends contaminated water into Colquitz River

Sediment release in salmon-bearing river a serious threat to aquatic life, says local activist

Uvic to launch app to link drug users with Naloxone kits

Researchers have spent the last year developing the Nal-Pal app

Santa visits some of Victoria General Hospital’s littlest patients

Santa flew in to the hospital via air ambulance helicopter

READER POLL: Do you have turkey or ham for Christmas dinner?

What are you having for Christmas dinner? Canadians gobbled up 3.3 million… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 18, 2018

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Lightning top Canucks 5-2 in feisty battle

NHL’s No. 1 team too much for Vancouver

Bear cubs try to take Vancouver Island woman’s Christmas cookies

Incident happened in the early-morning hours today, Dec. 18, in Nanaimo

FortisBC says you can return to normal gas use following pipeline fire

Utility says increased pipeline capacity, warmer weather have allowed supply to reach normal levels

CSIS collected info on peaceful groups, but only in pursuit of threats: watchdog

Security Intelligence Review Committee says fears unjustified after reviewing evidence, testimony

Canada ranks 16th on annual gender gap list

This is the second year Canada has placed 16th in the World Economic Forum’s list

VIDEO: Tornado rips through city west of Seattle

Reports indicate five to seven homes damaged in Port Orchard, Wash.

Most Read