A local advocacy group is opposing expanding the E&N trail system at the expense of mature trees
The CRD plans expanding the E&N trail system to connect two pedestrian and cyclist trails and create an unbroken 13 kilometre corridor, but a local advocacy group if opposed to the construction, saying over 200 mature trees will be cut down in the process.
The Atkins Alliance neighbourhood group in Langford says the CRD should wait until after the release of the recently announced feasibility study by the Island Corridor Foundation before expanding the trails.
Beth Cruise, a member of the Atkins Alliance & former Executive Director of the Canadian Earth Institute, says one of the main concerns they have is the amount of trees that will be impacted.
"There's going to be 200 of them cut down. And these are mature douglas firs, broadleaf maples, that provide a whole community for all birds and animals, as well as they protect the creek, the Millstream Creek, which has just had new salmon come up it."
She says the CRD is planning on starting construction before the birds can start to nest in the next two weeks, and although she doubts the construction will be delayed, she does say plans have changed before.
"The creek goes underneath the railway track with the tunnel on it's own, so they're going to put another tunnel on top of that to go for the bike trail, and that's different. Before they were going to have a bridge overtop of the creek which was a little bit dangerous for the creek, because of people throwing things in, and the silt that will happen from the rain because all the trees are gone, things like that."
Cruise adds the trees are essential to combating climate change, as a mature tree can collect over 1-tonne of carbon over a 40 year period, and losing over 200 trees could be devastating to the environment.
Expanding the E&N Could Mean Cutting Down Trees.
The next phase of construction for the E&N Rail Trail’s “Humpback Connector” – the portion between Atkins Avenue and Savoury School - could mean 300 trees have to come down