Sooke council puts axe to dying tree

A dying large blue spruce tree in front of Municipal Hall will be chopped down due to safety concerns

A dying large blue spruce tree in front of Municipal Hall will be chopped down due to safety concerns, district council decided last week.

But it won’t be replaced with a new tree, rock garden or other features as proposed by the parks and trails advisory committee.

The tree is in declining health and is impeding sight lines to the building entrance, said Coun. Brenda Parkinson.

The parks and trails advisory committee offered three landscaping options for the area once the tree is cut including annual and perennial fall and spring plantings, installing a bubble rock water feature, bench with landscaping or the bubble rock water feature with a bench.

Coun. Ebony Logins questioned why the Municipal Hall entrance was being favoured over other projects in the community, such as a water park. It was a sentiment echoed by other council members.

Over the last few years the district has spent large amounts of money to remove rhododendrons and other vegetation and to redo rock beds between the parking spaces to beautify the front entrance, said Coun. Bev Berger.

“There are lot of parks and other things that can be done [with the money],” she said.

Added Coun. Rick Kasper: “I have a problem spending $3,400 when that is not our focus. The focus is the downtown core, not this Municipal Hall.”

In the end, council decided to remove the tree only.

Parkinson asked if council would at least consider a bench at the site

A motion put forward by Kasper to that effect but did not receive a seconder.