Jeanette Funke-Furber leans against a massive Douglas fir on Telegraph Bay Road near Arbutus Road. Funke-Furber is among a group of area residents who got involved in an effort to keep the tree in the neighbourhood when they caught wind that it was scheduled for removal by the Saanich parks department due to ill health.

Second chance given to towering tree at Ten Mile Point

Jeanette Funke-Furber stands under the canopy of a massive Douglas fir near the entrance to Ten Mile Point and chats with two cyclists.

Jeanette Funke-Furber stood under the canopy of a massive Douglas fir near the entrance to Ten Mile Point and chatted with two cyclists.

“I’m just bringing them up to speed with the tree,” Funke-Furber said.

The couple, clad in helmets and shades, hovered over their bike seats and listened to the 70-year-old Telegraph Bay road resident. Though interested in learning more about her plight to save the tree, the cyclists said they needed more information to be convinced, and they continued along their ride.

Beside the tree, a hand-lettered sign read: “Celebrate the majestic life and mourn the tragic death of this ancient Douglas fir: POSTPONED.”

The boulevard tree has fallen victim to a rot-causing fungus, phaeolus schweinitzii, and the Saanich parks department had deemed that it should be removed, given its size and location in an area prone to high winds.

Funke-Furber and a group of concerned residents then hired their own arborist to conduct an independent review of the health of the tree, a process that resulted in the same conclusion as Saanich’s testing.

On Monday Funke-Furber and a handful of members of the Cadboro Bay community were set to say their final goodbyes to the tree, which was scheduled to be cut down that afternoon. They had planned a ceremony that included a blessing from the Songhees Nation.

“Look at this beautiful tree,” Funke-Furber said. “It’s been here for probably 300 years, before the white man came. Removing this tree should not be taken lightly and we wanted to celebrate its life. It’s been a friend in this community for a long time. Hundreds of people have walked by the tree – thousands.”

Then later on Monday, the municipality allowed another concerned Cadboro Bay resident, Max Cowper-Smith, to seek out a third, in-depth assessment on the health of the tree and delayed the removal until that assessment is complete.

“It could be that Saanich is right and that this tree needs to come down,” said Cowper-Smith, “but there are a number of other tests and assessments that can be done that haven’t been done yet.”

There is no deadline on when and if the tree will be removed, said Rae Roer, manager of Saanich parks.

“If it has to come down and it’s a complete danger, we’ll have to accept that, but we want to make darn sure that it’s a danger,” Funke-Furber said.

Since resistograph testing – which measure the degree of tree rot at wall thickness – was completed in June, the parks department removed one tree on municipal land at the site and modified another.

“We’ve waited this long (to remove it), we’re happy to wait another day or so,” Roer said. “What we’re trying to do is to balance the interest of the urban forest with the health and safety of the community.”

nnorth@saanichnews.com

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

New exhibit at Point Ellice House examines history of waste, water and privilege

Night soil scavengers in the 19th century would collect human waste and dump it around the city

Salish Sea scavenger hunt turns participants into citizen scientists

Public invited to join the Great Salish Sea BioBlitz

Coastal scenes at the forefront for July shows at Victoria galleries

From sculpture to landscape paintings, summer art is about nature

Victoria man collects 28 bags of trash along two-kilometre stretch of highway

20-year-old spent 12 hours collecting garbage near Thetis Lake

It’s showtime: Victoria theatre reopens with new COVID-19 protocols

Capitol 6 theatre and SilverCity Victoria have reopened with limited seating

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

White-throated sparrows have changed their tune, B.C. study unveils

Study marks an unprecedented development scientists say has caused them to sit up and take note

Two injured hikers airlifted from North Vancouver Island Park

Campbell River and Comox Search and Rescue hoist team rescued the injured from Cape Scott Provincial Park

Alberta health minister orders review into response after noose found in hospital in 2016

A piece of rope tied into a noose was found taped to the door of an operating room at the Grande Prairie Hospital in 2016

Most Read