Equipment size matters

The City owns a parking lot on the north side of Albert, between Brickhill Street and Commissioner (ie, just west of Bronson, on LeBreton Flats).

On the western edge of the lot, they installed landscaping consisting of a low berm, some swizzle-stick-caliper trees, and some shrubs. It’s enough to gently direct motorists to the proper driveway entrance.

shrubs and twigs when planted

Then the City sends a grader to plow the lot. Notice that a grader has its snow-clearing blade in the centre of the vehicle. To get to the edge of the parking lot, half the considerable length of the grader must extend beyond the gravel parking lot. In the photo at top, the front wheels are run right up into the centre of the shrub planting beds. The skilled operator did the best he could with the wrong equipment (he should have had a front end loader or plow) and he did manage to run up between (and not over) the twiggy trees.

When the city installed the lot, right after installing the high pressure water line along the north side of Albert, they said they would install concrete blocks or barriers to keep vehicles of the grassy perimeter, but alas, they never materialized, and motorists pull right up onto the grass (to get their cars in the shade of the trees?).

I frequently hear city officials and planners say that trees have a hard time surviving in urban environments. My general observation is that the major threat to urban trees is city staff.

For an example of this, look just a few blocks west, to the lengthy project to replace a wall along Ottawa Community Housing abutting Albert Street. The City chopped down about two dozen thirty year old trees for the project. Staff have since acknowledged to me that they cut down too many, including some in the wrong places where no work is to be done. I will be watching to see what gets replanted.

stumps of thirty-year old trees removed in error

All is not bad, however. The survival rate for trees planted in structural earth (subject of previous posts) along Preston is 100%, and in Hintonburg almost the same (some the trees there were planted in mid-summer and are struggling after a bad start).

One thought on “Equipment size matters

  1. Can the DCA and the residents group at the Ottawa Community Housing complex ask the city for specific trees, and then have a planting party in the spring?

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