Edmonton

Mixed reactions to tree removal plan for Valley Line West LRT expansion

Edmontonians who live near the future path of the Valley Line West LRT extension are divided over the City of Edmonton’s proposed plan to remove about 1,120 trees in order to build the infrastructure.

More than 1100 trees to be removed along corridor

The Valley Line West LRT expansion follows a path from downtown to Lewis Farms, on the western edge of Edmonton. Trees will be removed along Stony Plain Road to make room for the infrastructure. (Josee St-Onge/ CBC)

Residents who live near the future path of the Valley Line West LRT extension are divided over the City of Edmonton's proposed plan to remove about 1,120 trees in order to build the infrastructure.  

A report that will be presented to city council on Monday indicates that trees with a diameter of more than 16 centimetres will have to be removed along the 14 kilometre corridor. 

Teresa Williams, who has lived in the Glenora area for 45 years, said she thinks mature neighbourhoods shouldn't be sacrificed for the sake of the new train. 

"This city council does not believe in protecting trees," said Williams, who is opposed to the City's plan to build the LRT along Stony Plain Road. "It's terrible.

"I feel sorry for the people who bought in this neighbourhood believing that it would stay the way it is, and they have been let down by the council of this city."

Further east on the proposed LRT route, Lisa Brown, the president of the Oliver Community League, thinks the removal of the trees is unfortunate, but necessary.

"Overall, I think this is a huge net positive for our community to have mass transit come through," said Brown. "It will be really great for our businesses and our residents."

Oliver residents are expecting the city to replace the lost trees and create green space around the LRT, Brown told CBC News.

The City of Edmonton's 104th Avenue corridor plan includes designs for tree lined sidewalks. The plan was approved in July 2015. (City of Edmonton)

Brown said she is cautiously optimistic that a design proposed for the 104th Avenue corridor plan, which was approved by the city in July 2015, will be implemented. 

"We're trying to hold them accountable to that particular corridor plan," said Brown.

"I'm hopeful that given that this is an urban style train, and that it's low floor, that we're going to see some really great urban design elements incorporated."

The report indicates that about 1,800 trees will be planted to compensate for the loss of the existing canopy, but doesn't say how much the plan will cost.

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