Calvin Dueck said his heart sank when he saw dozens of mature oak trees reduced to shreds to make way for the next phase of the city's rapid transit bus route on Saturday.
Dueck is the chair of the Parker Wetlands conservation committee, a group that has been lobbying all three levels of government to set aside the Parker Lands as an ecological reserve for about three years.
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"The concerns here are the tremendous costs of putting a bus way through here. They are shredding down the oak forest with a shredder and they have not even made any attempt to … use it for something else," he said. "Rather it's just being shredded into the ground."
Some of the trees in the area, located near the rail line west of Pembina Highway, are up to 120 years old, Dueck said, and they can't easily be replaced. He said he was able to convince the crews to leave about 12 trees standing.
"They are irreplaceable," he said. "You can't replace them; it takes about 100 years for them to grow back."
He said he's also disappointed that the trees were just shredded instead of being used as firewood or for other projects.
In an email to CBC, a city spokesperson said the contractor can choose whether to shred or salvage, and not all trees are suitable to salvage. The spokesperson added that every effort is being made to avoid the removal of as many trees as possible.
Dueck said he hopes that some trees will be planted on either side of the bus route after everything is done.
"I guess there's not much that we can do at this point unfortunately," he said.