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Letter: There's validity in preserving the trees near Coquitlam's Mundy Park

A resident writes an open letter to city council, believing it has "an obligation to be part of the solution to climate change" amid the Austin Works Yard project.
austin works yard
The Austin Works Yard, a $35-million capital project, is set to be finished by the spring of 2024.

Dear Mayor Richard Stewart and councillors,

Residents have a valid interest in preserving the trees adjacent to Mundy Park.

The trees not only provide shade and privacy, they also help to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere — an issue that was not in the minds of councillors when the OCP was enacted in 1988.

Much has changed in three decades. Coquitlam suffered its first deadly heat dome, which killed fourteen residents during two days of extreme heat last June.

Global warming has reached us and cities must revise their decade old plans.

COP 26, the international panel on climate change, issued a final declaration that countries must reach net Zero carbon emissions by 2050 and be well on our way by 2030.

Cities, including Coquitlam, have an obligation to be part of the solution to climate change, not contributing to our carbon emissions by casually removing trees.

If at all possible, we must preserve trees because each tree removed releases the carbon it sequesters.

Mundy Park is not the only place where mature trees are threatened in the city.

Across from Lafarge Lake at the intersection of Guildford and Westwood, a healthy forested area is designated for development with no plan, as far as I know, that old trees will be preserved.

On Heffley Crescent, the OCP allows high rise development to replace well-constructed low-rise condos shaded by trees.

Demolition, as well as the tree removal, will result in unnecessary carbon emissions.

These measures will increase our risk of extreme heat.

The scientist who are experts in global warming warn us, but we don’t listen.

  • Trees convert CO2 into oxygen; one tree over a lifetime can sequester a ton of carbon
  • A small copse of trees is able to reduce the daytime temperature of cities by several degrees

This may not concern residents with air conditioning. However, ninety-degree-heat had a devastating effect on the marginally housed, the homeless, and the elderly living in long term care or high rises without AC.

Council should listen to the residents adjacent to Mundy Park and preserve the trees. Please be part of the solution to global warming.

- Yvonne Harris, Coquitlam