Jeanette Funke-Furber leans against a massive Douglas fir on Telegraph Bay Road near Arbutus Road. Funke-Furber is among a group of area residents who got involved in an effort to keep the tree in the neighbourhood when they caught wind that it was scheduled for removal by the Saanich parks department due to ill health.

Jeanette Funke-Furber leans against a massive Douglas fir on Telegraph Bay Road near Arbutus Road. Funke-Furber is among a group of area residents who got involved in an effort to keep the tree in the neighbourhood when they caught wind that it was scheduled for removal by the Saanich parks department due to ill health.

Second chance given to towering tree at Ten Mile Point

Jeanette Funke-Furber stands under the canopy of a massive Douglas fir near the entrance to Ten Mile Point and chats with two cyclists.

Jeanette Funke-Furber stood under the canopy of a massive Douglas fir near the entrance to Ten Mile Point and chatted with two cyclists.

“I’m just bringing them up to speed with the tree,” Funke-Furber said.

The couple, clad in helmets and shades, hovered over their bike seats and listened to the 70-year-old Telegraph Bay road resident. Though interested in learning more about her plight to save the tree, the cyclists said they needed more information to be convinced, and they continued along their ride.

Beside the tree, a hand-lettered sign read: “Celebrate the majestic life and mourn the tragic death of this ancient Douglas fir: POSTPONED.”

The boulevard tree has fallen victim to a rot-causing fungus, phaeolus schweinitzii, and the Saanich parks department had deemed that it should be removed, given its size and location in an area prone to high winds.

Funke-Furber and a group of concerned residents then hired their own arborist to conduct an independent review of the health of the tree, a process that resulted in the same conclusion as Saanich’s testing.

On Monday Funke-Furber and a handful of members of the Cadboro Bay community were set to say their final goodbyes to the tree, which was scheduled to be cut down that afternoon. They had planned a ceremony that included a blessing from the Songhees Nation.

“Look at this beautiful tree,” Funke-Furber said. “It’s been here for probably 300 years, before the white man came. Removing this tree should not be taken lightly and we wanted to celebrate its life. It’s been a friend in this community for a long time. Hundreds of people have walked by the tree – thousands.”

Then later on Monday, the municipality allowed another concerned Cadboro Bay resident, Max Cowper-Smith, to seek out a third, in-depth assessment on the health of the tree and delayed the removal until that assessment is complete.

“It could be that Saanich is right and that this tree needs to come down,” said Cowper-Smith, “but there are a number of other tests and assessments that can be done that haven’t been done yet.”

There is no deadline on when and if the tree will be removed, said Rae Roer, manager of Saanich parks.

“If it has to come down and it’s a complete danger, we’ll have to accept that, but we want to make darn sure that it’s a danger,” Funke-Furber said.

Since resistograph testing – which measure the degree of tree rot at wall thickness – was completed in June, the parks department removed one tree on municipal land at the site and modified another.

“We’ve waited this long (to remove it), we’re happy to wait another day or so,” Roer said. “What we’re trying to do is to balance the interest of the urban forest with the health and safety of the community.”

nnorth@saanichnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Processed sewage is still being deposited at the Hartland landfill rather than sent as biosolids to a Richmond cement plant. (Black Press Media file photo)
Biosolids at Hartland still being placed on landfill in Saanich

Richmond cement plant up and running, but CRD end product not suitable for purpose

An SUV sits where it crashed through the front window of the 2:18 Run store in Fairfield Plaza, after the driver appeared to lose control on Monday afternoon. (Photo by Phil Nicholls)
Driver crashes through front window of Victoria running store in Fairfield

Phil Nicholls of 2:18 Run said crash sounded like an earthquake at first

Elk Lake Drive area resident Michael Blayney protests a proposed multi-building development for his Royal Oak neighbourhood, outside Saanich municipal hall on Monday (June 14). (Photo by Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Demonstrators protest 11-storey development on Elk Lake Drive in Saanich

Saanich locals gather at municipal hall to protest development, public hearing goes Tuesday

Seismic upgrading and expansion work at Victoria High School is about a year behind due to pandemic-related factors, the Greater Victoria School District announced. (Photo by Cole Descoteau)
Victoria High School seismic work, expansion a year behind schedule

Greater Victoria School District now targeting September 2023 for reopening of historic school

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority is calling on Transport Canada to rescind its ban to Feb. 28, 2022 on cruise ship stops in Canada, to allow planning to begin in advance of a reopening of the cruise industry next year.
Greater Victoria Harbour Authority seeks end to federal ban on cruise ship stops in Canada

Greater Victoria Harbour Authority CEO hopes cruises will resume by 2022

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Neighbours on edge of Nanaimo city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Most Read