More UBC trees get axed to make way for market housing

A forested area of 165 trees is going to be cleared for construction of a 267-unit development, UBC officials say.

Forested area to be cleared for construction of 267-unit development

A forested corridor near the UBC farm was fenced off Wednesday to begin clearing the area for a new residential development. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

A 165-tree woodland is being cleared on the University of British Columbia's Vancouver campus to make way for a new residential development.

A 14-storey high-rise, 5-storey mid-rise and townhomes will soon take the place of a forested area in the Wesbrook Place Neighbourhood.

It's the latest in a string of tree clearings that have many groups questioning the university's commitment to greenspace and natural beauty.

The university has issued a tree removal warning for a forested area in front of the UBC Farm to build the new market housing development. Members of the farm and conservation groups expressed concern that the development will threaten an ecological corridor connecting Pacific Spirit Park to a large woodland northeast of the farm.

"We're worried that this is just another incremental step in the planned development that threatens to disturb the entire forested corridor," said Mike Jerowsky, president of the Pacific Spirit Park Society.

The corridor runs into Pacific Spirit Park, and is surrounded by two densely forested strips of greenspace. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

Jerowsky says numerous stakeholders raised these concerns during the public consultation phase of the development process, but they seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

Trees to be redistributed

According to the university, there will be no net loss in greenspace. Under current UBC policies, all trees that are removed through construction projects must be redistributed throughout the campus.

But Jerowsky says the way the trees are redistributed doesn't reflect what's being lost.

"The way in which that greenspace is actually distributed results in a loss of its ecological value, as a wildlife corridor, as well as something that connects the main body of the park ... to other greenspace areas across UBC," said Jerowsky.

The forested area, known as lots 7 and 8, as approved to be cut down by the UBC Board of Governers. The area is marked in blue. \ (UBC)

The university says there will still be a 30-metre buffer of forested area between the new development and the UBC Farm. The university was not available to provide a comment on the tree clearing by publication time.

 Another development application is underway to take down more trees immediately adjacent to the lot that's being cleared.

Applications are also in place to redevelop 'Lot 11' - an area adjacent to lots 7 and 8 - to make way for a 14-storey high rise. (UBC)