School work crew axe trees due to misunderstanding

The trees had emotional significance as they had been donated many years ago by the Sooke community.

The sudden removal of all the trees from the front of Edward Milne Community School has left some residents upset, as they had some iconic and sentimental importance in the community.

As it turns out though, the issue wasn’t aesthetics, but more so the prevention of infestation, said Sooke School District superintendent Jim Cambridge, who noted that one of the trees were rebutting around the edge of the school’s foundation and causing cracks, allowing rodents into the school.

But as work crews showed up on site to remove the tree in question, there was, unfortunately, a misunderstanding.

“Our mistake was that our crews reading the work order interpreted to take all the trees in the area down, even the ones that were in front of that,” Cambridge said. “In trying to fix the structural problem, we went overboard in terms of removing shrubbery.”

Given that the trees were initially donated and planted before the school was even built, their removal was upsetting.

But, the good news is, it’s not just going to be an empty dirt trench; Cambridge said there are already plans in the works to turn the affected area into a student recreational area of sorts.

“A half-moon garden with an aggregate walkway in front of it [the school] where the walkway disappears and joins again,” he said, referring to the one on the very front of the school, which is the smaller one, the one facing left at the side of the school.

“We’re likely to put a hard surface in there and some benches and some shrubs in containers.”

Plan for the bigger section, which is by the right-hand-side entrances at the side of the school, a couple of circle cutouts will take shape for shade trees, along with a picnic table and some benches.

Cambridge hopes that when the work is completed, EMCS students will have a more useable outside space to relax and perhaps even study in.

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