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LETTER - Creating a healthy community starts with the protection and significant inclusion of nature

Dear editor,

Dear editor,

Within the past couple of months, users of the Northeast Woods would have seen signs posted around to notify Comox residents that parcels of forested property north of Mulberry Lane are slated for development. Some of us have been in contact with town council and staff, asking for clarifications as we are concerned about tree and habitat retention in this area of mature second-growth forest. Another forested parcel of concern is the 12-acre property on Hector Road that connects to the northeast end of Aspen Road.

Since the 2011 Official Community Plan (OCP), our view and understanding of urban forests has changed, especially as they are rapidly falling victim to development in growing towns and cities on the Island. Right in our midst, the northwest end of Aspen Road was clear cut, now fully connecting Aspen Road. No significant clusters of mature trees appear to have been left standing. The replanting of token trees can at best be called streetscape. This old school approach to development must end in our community!

With the climate crisis at the forefront, any development plans in these fast disappearing forested properties should involve greater input of Comox residents. Neighbourhoods deserve nature trails within walking distance to experience the proven physical and mental health benefits they provide. Wildlife and the ecosystems in which they need to survive cannot continue to be pushed into smaller and smaller areas, until practically eradicated. Yes, there is a housing crisis to be dealt with as well, but creating a healthy community starts with prioritizing the protection and significant inclusion of nature.

I encourage residents of Comox to become acquainted with development plans being addressed by council. Council is negotiating with developers on creating more housing, pressured by both the provincial and federal governments.

The optics are that trees come down first in the name of housing and then all levels of government backtrack to claim that climate mitigation strategies such as saving trees is important too.

Joanne McKechnie,