British Columbia·WHAT'S YOUR STORY?

New Vancouver condo tower knocking out beloved neighbourhood tree

Katherine Lauriente is doing all she can to save an old maple tree that is being knocked down to make room for Vancouver's third tallest residential building.

'This tree has history and it's part of the neighbourhood,' says Vancouverite Katherine Lauriente

A pair of 100-year-old homes will be demolished along with the old Maple tree when Vancouver's third tallest residential tower is built. (David Horemans/CBC)

A Vancouver resident is doing all she can to save an old maple tree that's being uprooted to make room for Vancouver's third tallest residential building. 

"I know this tree is slated to be destroyed and I feel sick to my stomach," said Katherine Lauriente. 

Lauriente drives past the grand tree on the 1200 block of Hornby Street everyday on her way to work, and it holds a special place in her heart.

"The tree has history and it's part of the neighbourhood," she said. "Concrete walls and 55-storey buildings, there's no humanity in them." 

Katherine Lauriente says she is heartbroken that the tree will be uprooted. (David Horemans/CBC)

The tree, along with two 100-year-old homes, is going to be demolished in the next few months when the Burrard Place tower begins construction. 

Lauriente worries that too many trees in the city are being taken down for towers. 

"Vancouver has become soulless. It's condo after condo and there are no neighbourhoods," she said.

"When neighbourhoods are long gone, when the neighbourhood isn't there anymore ... at least we have the tree."

Lauriente has even started an online petition to change the destiny of this old tree, but the City of Vancouver has already given the green light to the developer. 

Done deal

The tower's developer said the trees need to be removed during the first phase of the redevelopment so construction can begin on the residential tower that will take up a full city block. 

Burrard Place will be Vancouver's third largest residential tower after the Trump tower and the Shangri-La. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

"Ultimately in the next phase, Tower C will go right where the tree is," said John Stovell, president of Reliance Properties.

Stovell said dozens of new trees will be planted in its place when the project is completed in 2019. The eighth floor of the building is also slated to have plenty of green space. 

But that isn't good enough for Lauriente.

"Rows of concrete without trees or with little tiny trees, is not the same thing," she said. 

What's your story?

This story is part of a special CBC Vancouver News series, What's Your Story? The series focuses on issues pitched by our audience about what matters to them. 

If you have a story to pitch about an issue in your community, send it to mylocalstory@cbc.ca

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