Calgary's International Avenue BRZ hosts 'Great Forest Lawn Tree Move'

At least 200 trees must be uprooted from International Avenue by the first week of October so that the city can begin work on the 17 Avenue S.E. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project.

200 uprooted to make room for new bus line in Forest Lawn

The director of the International Avenue BRZ is confident that all the trees will be adopted in no time. (CBC)

The International Avenue BRZ is digging up its trees and giving them away.

Well, almost. 

The 16-year-old trees are free — but Calgarians must still pay to have them uprooted, delivered and replanted on their property.

The fee for that is $420 per tree, which Alison Karim-McSwiney says is a deal.

"They're very large, the majority of them are healthy. When we actually planted them, we made sure there was a maximum amount of soil mass," the director of the International Avenue Business Revitalization Zone (BRZ) told the Calgary Eyeopener on Thursday.

"So we feel very comfortable that these trees can be relocated and find a new home."

There are about 300 elms, green ash and Schubert cherry trees lining the main throughway of Forest Lawn, but all of them have to go before the city can begin work on the 17 Avenue S.E. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project.

Karim-McSwiney said some of the trees will be moved to another area in the community and used as part of the BRT redesign, but at least 200 have to find a new spot to put down their roots. 

She's confident the trees will go fast, seeing as so many were killed during the September snowstorm two years ago.

"You know, a lot of people may have lost some really beautiful and mature trees and we just felt … that we wanted to give back."

The southeast BRT is expected to be complete in 2018 and Karim-McSwiney said the redesign will include "well over 500" new trees.

"So we will have a greater forest in Forest Lawn."

Calgarians have until Sept. 28 to sign up online for one of the old trees, which will be delivered the first week of October.

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener