Weeping for willows in Langford

Owners dismayed over loss of trees: city offers to replace with two more weeping willows

The City of Langford plans to remove and replace a pair of weeping willows on Rockingham Road.

Tears fall from Lisa van Veelen’s face as she thinks about losing her weeping willow trees.

The trees are officially on city land, but at the edge of the Langford home owners’ property.

Langford’s Transportation and Public Works committee has recommended to council that the trees be cut down due to disease in the tree and large branches hanging over Rockingham Road.

“We love that tree,” said van Veelen.

Langford plans to replace the trees with two other weeping willow trees. Michelle Mahovolich, director of engineering, stated the city wouldn’t normally plant this type of tree due to extensive root systems potentially interfering with water pipes and other infrastructure in the ground.

The home owners are reluctant to accept that the old trees need to come down, but agreed to water the new trees for the next two years until the root systems mature.

“The new trees are fairly significant and mature,” said Mahovolich, adding the trees are coming from a Langford nursery.

Van Veelen is worried abouthowthe change will alter the look of the street. At the time of the committee meeting the exact size of the new trees were unknown.

 

“Now that you are getting a new tree I feel

better about it,” said committee member, Jean Tarr.

 

The committee based its recommendation to remove the trees on an arborist’s assessment.

“I have a willow tree that I thought was going to die 30 years ago,” said Les Bjola, committee member, suggesting the large branch be cut and the rest of the tree could stay. “My willow still has lots of life in it.”

After a site visit to the van Veelen’s home, Bjola spoke of how the weeping willow trees add character to the street.

“If we are going to put in sidewalks and gutters then fine (cut them down), but if we are going to leave it as a funky road, then let’s leave it as a funky road,” Bjola said.

The committee voted to follow the arborist’s recommendation.

The van Veelen’s are not happy, but appreciate having the willows replaced.

 

“The kids gather at the trees, they provide privacy and a nice canopy over the road,” said Jeremy van Veelen.

 

 

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