Neighbours lament death of Emily, the iconic Cordova Bay oak tree

Urban development means continued loss of urban tree canopy

Emily the tree is dead. She was felled in the name of development.

Emily, if you weren’t aware, is the name bestowed by locals to the iconic pin oak tree whose scarlet leaves invigorated the tired Cordova Bay Plaza with a splash of life. Whether you knew Emily by name or not, you couldn’t miss the giant tree, an oasis in the deserted Cordova Bay Plaza parking lot. Recently, Emily inspired an outcry from a number of Cordova Bay villagers in the final moments before the new Cordova Bay redevelopment was approved. (The removal of Emily and other trees were included in the plans.)

The new shopping centre is comprised of three four-storey buildings with multiple ground-floor commercial suites, underground parking and 91 residential homes.

And so, it was a down moment earlier this month as villagers happened upon the iconic Emily who, for the first time in decades, was no longer in the regal upright stance overlooking the Haro Straight. Instead, Emily was reduced to logs in a box.

Steve Corner was among those who took the chance to memorialize the great oak. “It was a sad and unnecessary ending to [Emily’s] life,” said Corner. “[Emily] could have provided many more years for all to enjoy with a little thought in the design of the new development.”

Before it was felled, the tree inspired 18-year-old Claremont grad Matthew Cain to paint it. He not only captured the tree’s essence but also spoke to Saanich council – prior to the development approval – on behalf of retaining the tree for its spiritual and community value.

Others equally lamented the loss of Emily.

Development continues to result in urban tree canopy loss at a consistent rate across Greater Victoria and Saanich. Most urban trees are felled for development, which remains strong, likely at a pace similar to the 378 hectares of tree cover lost between 2005 and 2011.

reporter@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Excess activity damaging Saanich golf course – despite being closed

Cedar Hill Golf Course manager reminds people of the 170 parks available in Saanich

UVic Vikes new basketball coach on the fast track

At 26, Shalie Dheensaw assumed head coaching role

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

‘Small python’ found in vacant Cook Street apartment

Snake taken to CRD Animal Shelter to be claimed

Greater Victoria liquor stores see spike in sales amidst COVID-19

Customers are buying go-to products in larger quantities

VIDEO: ‘Used gloves and masks go in the garbage,’ says irked B.C. mayor

Health officials have said single-use gloves won’t do much to curb the spread of COVID-19

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

POLL: Will you be able to make your rent or mortgage payment this month?

With the COVID-19 delivering a devastating blow to the global economy, and… Continue reading

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Black Press Media ad sparks discussion about value of community newspapers

White Rock resident hopes front-page note shines light on revenue loss during COVID-19 crisis

Nanaimo man arrested after allegedly setting house fire

Firefighters arrived to find mobile home ablaze on Barnes Road in Cedar on Thursday

Businesses advised to prepare for federal, B.C. COVID-19 assistance

Canada Revenue Agency portal expected to open next week

Dogs are property, not kids, B.C. judge tells former couple

Court decision made on competing lawsuits over Zeus and Aurora — a pit bull and pit bull cross

B.C. senior gives blood for 200th time, has ‘saved’ 600 lives

There was no cutting of cake for Harvey Rempel but he’s challenging youth to start donating blood

Most Read