I've heard from some readers who say the park board is wasting money by planting young boulevard and street trees without having the budget to water them.
When Hillcrest resident Sherry Buium noticed an increasing number of dead or dying young trees in her neighbourhood, she called the city's 311 line and reported her concerns. The park board puts out a call to residents every summer asking for help in keeping young boulevard trees watered during dry spells.
Buium argues if trees, shrubs or gardens are planted in public spaces the city should have a budget and plan to care for them.
"Funds are available at the outset of a project, but it appears that there is a lack of funding for ongoing maintenance," Buium wrote the park board in an email. "I would suggest that unless you intend to properly take care of any new plantings that nothing new is undertaken."
Buium is concerned about a plan to plant an additional 150,000 trees across the city as part of the 2020 Greenest Action Plan. As I reported in this column last April, the trees will be planted as part of a plan to make Vancouver the greenest city in the world by 2020.
I also heard from Dunbar resident and community activist Terry Slack, who has been going to great lengths to save the dying boulevard trees near his home. Slack says the young trees planted last year on King Edward Boulevard are starting to show signs of leaf loss stress. Slack sent out a group email reminding Dunbar residents to do their part to keep these trees alive.
"I know it's hard to get water to them with a hose, as cars are up and down the road most of the day," Slack wrote in the email. "I have decided to use the water bucket method to water the new small cedar at King Edward Boulevard and Crown Street and it seems to be working well."
The "water bucket" method involves Slack hauling pails of water to the boulevard in the back of his truck. He pours the water directly on to the roots of the trees.
I asked the park board for stats on the number of young trees that have died this summer, if any, but as of the Courier's press deadline hadn't received that information. I'll include it in Friday's column.
BEACHES STILL OPEN
This long weekend is the last time lifeguards will be at the city's beaches and outdoor pools. I have seen that deadline extended in the past when the city was enjoying a particularly warm September, so let's keep our fingers crossed.
But for now, the city's beaches, outdoor and wading pools, splash parks and Trout Lake are open for swimming until at least Sept. 3.
Yes, you heard right. Trout Lake actually opened for swimming this summer after its fecal count dropped to a level considered safe for swimming. After I wrote about Trout Lake being closed to swimmers last year, I received regular emails from a guy who for some reason thought I was responsible for getting it cleaned up. He inundated me with reasons why I should hire him to do just that. I tried to explain I'm a newspaper reporter and not a park board employee or health officer, but apparently that information didn't compute.
Also going on now through the end of the long weekend, Sept. 3, is a deal at Klahowya Village in Stanley Park where visitors can ride the Dream Catcher train allday long for $5.