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Tree lined park clearcut

Where have all the trees gone?

That's what Olga wants to know after most of the large trees in Marjorie Pritchard Memorial Park in West Kelowna were recently removed.

"I come from a place where older trees are protected by law. They are treasured in cities," stated Olga, a resident of the area, in an email to Castanet.

"They are an aesthetic part of the cityscape not to mention other benefits they provide. I'm shocked that someone even came up with this idea and was allowed to go with it because no matter what they build there, it doesn't justify the still on-going slaughter."

The District of West Kelowna says the removal of the trees is part of a re-development plan for the Park.

That plan included purchase of a piece of property at 1595 Pritchard Drive increasing the size to 0.7 hectares and 166 metres of lakeshore.

The municipality has approved funds for phase 1 of the Pritchard Park Plan which parks planner Mark Roberts says necessitated removal of several trees within the park.

"Those improvements would encroach somewhat into the existing vegetation," says Roberts.

"Unfortunately we did have to take out a couple more as they were flagged as hazard trees or danger trees by our on-staff arborist."

Roberts says they took out more trees than they had initially hoped to but says, in the end, "it's going to lend to a fabulous park design. We are really excited about this project."

He says the project will feature full frontage improvements along Pritchard Drive including construction of roughly 35 parking stalls with curb, gutter and sidewalks.

"The parking stalls themselves are a little wider to allow families to get in and out of the cars without any problem. The sidewalk at the front of the stalls will provide safe passage for families in and out of the park," says Roberts.

"We also have some planting beds to break up the parking areas and we will be installing about 26 new trees along the frontage works to replace some of the trees that were taken out."

In addition, new fencing will be going up along the front and side of the park to improve security.

Roberts adds that many of the disturbed areas of the park where the trees were situated will have a top dress of top soil and will be re-seeded.

"This phase deals mainly with the works out on Pritchard Drive to improve safety and access into the park."

West Kelowna Council will be asked to award the construction project on Tuesday.

If that contract is awarded construction will begin shortly with completion expected by the end of June.

What do you think? Send us your letters to [email protected]

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