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Kamloops resident surprised at lack of stir about removal of heritage trees

Bob Johnson was surprised to walk down to Columbia Street today and find no one protesting the demolition of Royal Inland Hospital heritage trees.
April 26, 2013 - 1:11 PM

Buzzzzz. Crack. Crash.

Twenty-one large heritage trees are being cut down in front of the Royal Inland Hospital.

The largest - an eight-foot Silver Maple tree - was about 100 years old.

Once a controversial topic among some Kamloopsians, there was no one there protesting, standing in front of the trees or even paying much attention.

Drivers turned their heads as they waited at the stoplight on Columbia Street and a few pedestrians stopped and watched - but that was about it.

One Kamloops man walked down from his nearby home to see what was going on.

Bob Johnson, a Kamloops resident since 1986, stood on Columbia Street watching the demolition.

"I'm surprised there's not someone here with picket signs," he said.

He said it made him sad to see the trees go, but he understood that it was necessary.

"It's all about the progress," he said. "Parking is a big issue."

The open space will make way for the first phase of development of a new RIH project - a clinical services building - expected to house about 10 clinical services and expand parking.

"I think that people realize the need for this project," said Erin Toews, Interior Health Authority communications officer.

And in a couple years, the wood salvaged from the trees will be made into furniture, jewellery boxes and trinkets in the hands of Kamloops students.

Two local teachers are going to use the hardwood in their woodworking classrooms.

Teacher Tom Bundic of Sahali Secondary School said he's lived in Kamloops for 26 years and isn't saddened at the loss of the Columbia Street greenery.

"I don't feel sad, I feel privileged that we can keep them from going into landfills," he said. "It's going to be put to good use."

With access to a sawmill, the teachers are able to mill the wood and salvage the majority of it, giving them access to wood that is otherwise expensive to buy.

It'll be a couple years for it to cure, but Bundic said the wood will last five to eight years worth of woodworking classes.

"You're looking at several years and thousands of projects."

Toews said the five smaller memorial trees directly in front of the hospital will be transplanted to another location at the hospital.

To contact a reporter for this story, email: jwallace@infotelnews.ca or call (250) 319-7494.

 

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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