A longtime Tsawwassen resident is angered the Delta school district has cut down a hedgerow of trees and shrubs along her street.
The pruning took place along 54th Street, next to South Delta Secondary.
Saying residents weren't consulted or notified, Carolyn Nutton believes the district had alternatives to what is essentially a clear-cut, something she said has drastically altered the character of the neighbourhood.
"Everyone is just shocked because it was a visual barrier and also a bird habitat. I can't even bear to keep my curtains open anymore, it's just horrible."
The strip of vegetation acted as a well-used habitat for many bird species, from songbirds to larger birds, including bald eagles, Nutton said.
"It really was a joy to live here because there were so many flocks of little birds.
They've taken out all the bottom and limbed up the alder trees. There's only a canopy and in the last two weeks I haven't seen a single bird on the ground," she said. "I thought we were supposed to be looking after habitat for birds because there's not that much urban habitat."
Hoping it will replant some of the native greenery, Nutton said the district proceeded with a drastic measure without gathering feedback on what would have been more suitable and acceptable options.
She's hoping Tsawwassen residents contact the school principal as well as the district asking for the damage to be repaired.
SDSS principal Helene Gaudreault wrote to Nutton in response to her concerns, saying it was not the district's intention to disrupt local wildlife, but rather to ensure the safety of students and staff.
Gaudreault explained the overgrown bushes blocked sightlines to an area where students hang out at the back of the school.
Although staff have always done their best to supervise the area, they cannot be there all of the time, she said.
Gaudreault noted several years ago the Corporation of Delta did some brush clearing at Dennison Park across the street from SDSS for safety reasons, which has been successful in providing a clean line of sight into the park to supervise students and help ensure safety for the community. That clearing resulted in minimal issues and no complaints from neighbours, she said.
Gaudreault added there were also a safety concerns with some trees themselves along 54th Street.
That resulted in a previous removal, but those trees will be replaced.
School district communications manager Deneka Michaud told the Optimist the need for security was highlighted with the murder of Laura Szendrei three years ago. The 15-year-old was viciously assaulted in a wooded area of Mackie Park in broad daylight. Michaud noted the municipality took the initiative of clearing brush in parks after that incident.
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