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More than 7,200 trees removed from Stanley Park in battle with hemlock looper moths

Click to play video: 'More than 7,200 trees cut down or treated in Stanley Park'
More than 7,200 trees cut down or treated in Stanley Park
A report to Stanley Park stakeholders obtained by Global News says the Vancouver Park Board has cut down and or treated more than seven thousand trees to deal with an invasive pest. Alissa Thibault reports.

We now know how many trees have been logged from Vancouver’s Stanley Park in the city’s battle with the hemlock looper moth.

In a notice to park stakeholders obtained by Global News, the Vancouver Park Board said “essential tree work” in the park was complete.

Contractors removed and/or treated 7,201 trees across 60 hectares (25 per cent) of the park’s forested area between October 2023 and March, the notice said.

Click to play video: 'Stanley Park tree clearing opposition grows'
Stanley Park tree clearing opposition grows

Crews have also finished reforestation work, which included planting more than 25,000 seedlings of multiple species with an eye to ensuring a more resilient forest in the future.

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The park board maintains that the trees needed to be removed because they were dead or dying due to hemlock looper moth infestation, and posed a safety and fire risk. The moths are endemic insects that experience population outbreaks about every 15 years.

It was not clear why the update was only sent to members of a mailing list but not released to the general public.

The park board said no one was available for an interview on the matter.

Michael Caditz spearheaded a petition opposing the tree removal and now serves as director of the Stanley Park Preservation Society.

Click to play video: '160,000 trees to be removed from Stanley Park, impacting traffic'
160,000 trees to be removed from Stanley Park, impacting traffic

He said it was surprising the city appeared to have limited who was sharing updates about the project with.

“Something this significant, with this much impact not only on the ecology of the park but the stakeholders, the users of the park … it should be done in the light of day,” he said.

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“The Vancouver Park Board, City of Vancouver continues to work under the radar.”

Caditz believes there was no need for the city to remove the trees, and said his group hasn’t been able to find any experts that agree with the author of a consultant report recommending the initiative.

That same report, he said, identified more than 166,000 dead trees and spoke of removing at least 20,000 of them.

“If you look at those numbers, compare that to the 7,000 they say they’ve already cut, it would appear they’ve only just begun,” he said.

“It sounds like they are going to be resuming and what we see now is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Click to play video: 'Man lives in Stanley Park for more than 30 years'
Man lives in Stanley Park for more than 30 years

Caditz said his group intends to fight any future tree removal in court and is hoping to get an injunction blocking the work.

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“We want to stop it,” he said. “We as a society will do everything in our power to prevent the resumption of logging.”

According to the park board update, much of the harvested wood is being repurposed.

It said nearly 3,000 cubic metres of logs were scaled and recovered, about four per cent of which were given to local First Nations.

The city also gave six loads of firewood to local First Nations to be used for longhouses and ceremonies, and a seventh load was delivered to Vancouver police for their On the Land Cultural Training Program.

Crews also removed more than 2,100 metric tonnes of brush and fine fuels that were chipped into green waste.

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