There is no doubt that trees play a vital role in our community. However, while trees are a valuable part of the urban pedestrian experience, they should not compromise public safety. Due to tripping hazards, poor drainage, and disruptions to City utilities, the current street trees on Johnston Road could pose a risk to the public.
Street trees in urban settings typically have a life-cycle of 25-30 years. The trees on Johnston Road are in this age range and are likely close to 40 years old, with many approaching the end of their lifespan. As changes occur on Johnston Road, unfortunately, trees will need to be removed to address damaged and diseased trees as well as potential trip hazards caused due to tree roots tearing apart parts of the City’s sidewalks. And, yes, trees will be replaced.
About Johnston Road Streetscape Revitalization Project
The revitalization of the Johnston Road streetscape is an opportunity to improve the functionality and vibrancy of Johnston Road as the commercial and cultural ‘high street’ of the Town Centre and gateway into White Rock. Like many famous highstreets in the world, large healthy trees play an important role in creating an attractive space for people to enjoy, which is why creating a green canopy is at the heart of the Johnston Road Streetscape Revitalization project. The new streetscape has been designed to maximize tree health, growth, and size by replanting trees in Soil Cells which are modular frameworks that hold the healthy soil trees need for nourishment and create underground rain gardens that sustain them.
The figure below provides a quick summary of our current conditions and challenges.
Figure 1: Page 10 of the Johnston Road Open House Panels, December 08, 2016
We care about these trees, too. This is why we are saving and relocating the healthy trees from Johnston Road to Maccaud Park (1475 Kent Street). We also share your sentiment and concern, but it is a temporary measure as replacement trees will be planted throughout Johnston Road as part of the Johnston Road Streetscape Revitalization project. Furthermore, City staff recently provided a report on the City’s Tree Planting Program (please see the following: February 19, 2018, Corporate Report, City Tree Planting Program 2018 – 2019 (page 34)
To ensure that the issues identified during public consultation (workshop, survey, and open house) are addressed, the City will be using new technologies and planting strategies to allow replacement trees to grow, thrive and spread their roots without impacting pedestrian safety, business accessibility, and City utilities.
We thank the members of our community for participating in the public consultation process for this important project. Your input has shaped how the City will proceed with the reconstruction and beautification of Johnston Road’s streetscape. Council has selected a hybrid concept option presented by staff that combined elements of Option #2 (“Arts and Culture” theme) with the essential layout of Option #3 (“Green/Sustainability” theme). This hybrid concept option will incorporate new sidewalks, convenient crosswalks, rain gardens (planters), treed seating areas, new café zones and a vibrant green canopy along the corridor. (Please refer to page 112 of the Corporate Reported entitled: “Selection of Johnston Road Gateway Concept Design”)
Below is an illustration that shows what Johnston Road is to look like upon completion of this project. The view in the illustration is if you were looking south on Johnston Road from Russell Avenue.
The City began removing trees early on Sunday, February 25, 2018 for the following reasons:
- Ensure Pedestrian safety: Dropping limbs from trees is very dangerous, therefore to avoid any risk to members of the public being injured, the work started early on Sunday where there was minimum traffic from both pedestrians and vehicles.
- Reduce Impact on Buses: To ensure buses arrived at their pick-up and drop-off sites in a timely manner, the City chose to do this work on a Sunday when buses are not running as often as they do throughout the week.
- Minimize Impact on Businesses: To minimize the impact on businesses, again, the City chose to do this work early on Sunday morning when there is typically less traffic from both pedestrians and vehicles.
- City Bylaw: Under the Community Charter, municipalities are exempt from noise bylaws as they i.e. sometimes need to undertake City related work outside regular working hours to minimize disruption, which is why the City of White Rock removed the trees early on Sunday. Also, as per the White Rock Tree Management Bylaw, 1831, part 2, section 3 the City followed the bylaw and acted accordingly. Lastly, part of the work on Johnston Road is to simultaneously upgrade the critical water, sewer and street infrastructure on these two blocks to help increase capacity and improve the reliability of the existing older watermains, sanitary sewers and storm sewers to better serve this growing neighbourhood. The trees had to be removed to allow for this work to take place.
This project will ultimately improve accessibility, safety and ease of use along Johnston Road and re-establish White Rock’s commercial and cultural ‘high street’ as the gateway into our beautiful City by the Sea. It will also provide a beautiful canopy of trees along the corridor, create areas for seating, including outdoor Café seating along the new widened sidewalks, and revitalize the Town Centre.
We encourage you to visit our Johnston Road Streetscape Revitalization projects to review the Johnston Road Gateway Public Workshop presentation boards, community survey results, the Johnston Road Gateway concepts presented at our open house, and more.
BOSA | Miramar Phase 2| BOSA to Provide Replacement Trees
Last week we received inquiries regarding the work BOSA Properties is doing on their site (Johnston Road & Thrift). Below is some information about the project.
The BOSA project was approved back in 2007, amended in 2011 and 2016. Throughout the development application process, the City has ensured that BOSA provides ample replacement trees and public community amenities for the use and enjoyment of residents and visitors. As a result, new trees will be planted upon completion of the project. For example, mature maple trees will be placed in the Central Courtyard and be a gathering place with terraced seating beside a water feature. Under the shade of these new trees, this public space will act as a gathering spot during hot and sunny days for the community. Trees will also be replanted along Johnston & Thrift as per the development process. Through new rooftop terraces, this phase of the BOSA development project will be adding a second canopy of plantings and greenery above the streetscape.
For your convenience and reference, below are renderings of what the BOSA project will look like upon completion.
If you have questions regarding the BOSA development, please contact BOSA Properties at 604-299-1363.
If you have questions regarding the Johnston Road Streetscape Revitalization project, please visit www.whiterockcity.ca/JohnstonRoad.