Walking or cycling down Royal Avenue on Kamloops North Shore you’ve likely noticed a forest grove in the city – an oasis of greenery and birdsong.
The property along the 100 block of Royal Ave is essentially an arboretum with its huge spruce, oak, golden locust, mountain ash, and more. Dozens of trees in total, some as much as 100 years old.
It is the greatest concentration of meaningful urban tree canopy outside of a city park on the North Shore and a sight to behold. Soon the property will be clearcut to make way for ARPA’s new Thompson Landing development, though.
The developers claim that the trees will be replaced, but the smaller mostly ornamental varieties that their landscaping plan calls for will never replace the mature trees that exist there now, even if you could wait 100 years.
Trees like these are practicably irreplaceable. The dense canopy of leaves provides a cool refuge in the otherwise hot and dusty city and the buildings that replace it will rely on huge air conditioning units instead, sucking up energy and further driving our downward cycle into global warming.
The city of Kamloops should enact a municipal tree bylaw like Vancouver in order to protect the few large heritage trees that we have. There, you can be certain at least a couple of the massive oaks along the fence line would be saved, protected behind an orange construction fence.
It is cynical that the municipality touts its plan to grow our urban canopy, giving out $50 tree coupons by the thousands, and yet all around the city, big trees are falling to chainsaws and backhoes with every fresh development. Often this is at the city’s own behest where no variances are given for construction setbacks to protect existing trees.
Even more ironically, the city’s new North Shore Master plan identifies this location as the potential site for a “River House” interpretive nature centre – this urban grove boarding the river would certainly be an ideal spot for that, but the ambitious North Shore plan is shown again to be aspirational at best.
At this time of year, the grove is bursting with life, a last holdout in an urban desert. I suggest you go for a walk along this section of the rivers trail and see it for yourself while you still can, ’cause next spring all that will be left are stumps.
North Shore Resident