Are we part of nature, or are we here to control nature?
Take trees, and we are. Trees are a part of nature. They support life of all sorts, including us humans. We share a symbiotic relationship with trees, we off-gas air they can use, and they off-gas air we can use. They provide a canopy of refreshing shade in the heat.
Trees offer accommodation for all kinds of critters.
When did we get so superior as to think we could control nature? How long before we realize air is a finite resource like everything else on this planet, and we stop mowing down forests that provide us with the very air we need to survive? How long before we realize that all life is precious?
There are two trees on the chopping block at the proposed Cedar Avenue Park. Citizens of Kelowna, unless we speak up, these two trees will come down soon.
What makes these trees special, what's the big deal, you may ask.
Like all trees, these are special, even though to many they may appear "Charlie Brown" like. The two trees are right on the water's edge and have managed to scrape out an existence in less than ideal conditions. Head down to the lake and check out the root systems that are largely exposed - simply maginificent!
The big deal is a decision that has to be made. Are we part of nature and recognize that all life is precious, or are we going to continue to bend nature to our will?
The City of Kelowna has been chopping down trees right, left, and centre lately. During my daily paddle from Cedar Avenue, I discovered the roadworks department is starting Part 2 of its efforts to shore up the lakeshore south of the area.
Last year, Part 1 saw the tearing down of old seawalls to be replaced by new seawalls, fronted by rockpiles. Part 2 will see the same treatment to the remaining seawalls up to and including the park. Part of the construction (I prefer to call it destruction) includes the removal of the two trees.
Both parts of this destruction are part of the proposed Cedar Avenue Park that has been so controversial the last couple of years. The city proposes a building, the citizens want a park. The city's proposed building includes a plan to restore shoreline to riparian standard. Citizens' wishes would also require a natural shoreline. The actions of the city in building these seawalls flies directly in the face of a plan to restore the shoreline to natural.
Mayor Walter Gray, the leadership of Kelowna fell on your shoulders after the last election. We have not seen much leadership on Cedar Avenue, before or since the election. The past council could not handle this hot potato and passed it on to the new council, your council. We have not heard anything about Cedar Avenue since your election.
I have watched these seawalls being built in spite of no decision on the park. It would indicate to me that not only is Cedar Avenue in limbo, it is being transformed without public consultation. That transformation has nothing to do with restoring natural shoreline.
Kelowna just won an award for sustainability. Creating a park at Cedar Avenue is what Kelowna has asked for. It is sustainable.
Will council save the trees to show Kelowna has an interest in being a part of nature, and begin the process that will decide the fate of Cedar Avenue? Or will it choose the path of controlling nature by building this seawall and delaying the decision on Cedar Avenue further?