A significant number of trees at Tsawwassen’s Winskill Park will have to come down.
The west side of park contains a stand of 596 trees, a notable part of the urban forest in Delta.
The trees are located in an area covering approximately 2.5 hectares and primarily contain cedar, alder and birch trees.
The urban forest was assessed in 2020 as part of the work associated with planning for the future of the Winskill Aquatic and Fitness Centre.
Park’s Recreation and Culture Director Ken Kuntz confirmed a large number of trees will ultimately need to be replaced over a multi-year period.
He told the Optimist the tree assessment condition report for the forested area west of the sport fields and aquatic centre found many are in a state of decline.
Delta has a replacement plan that it is reviewing with various advisory committees and a detailed plan will come forward to council.
His report to the Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission notes the assessment identified that all trees inventoried pose a low risk, meaning that immediate removal is not required.
However, 317 trees were noted as being in poor condition, including the vast majority of the 272 mature trees that are 40 years old or more.
His report also notes that pending approval, the Winskill Park Urban Forest Regeneration Plan would be undertaken over a four-year period starting in 2021.
The plan contains several actions including the staged removal of the 317 trees found to be in poor condition, planting of 391 new trees in the western side of the park, reduction of trees on the west end of the existing parking lot adjacent to the aquatic and fitness centre to allow for future parking capacity, as well as retention of a portion of some trees identified for removal to provide wildlife habitat.
The plan also includes using natural materials, partially gathered from the removal of existing trees, for the creation of an outdoor learning space to support community education opportunities.
Two notable considerations, which will be undertaken in parallel to the implementation of the plan, include the realignment of the existing disc golf course at the park and upgrades to the existing pathway through the portion of Winskill covered by the plan, the report adds.
Each year of the proposed plan is estimated to cost $100,000 for the removals and replanting.