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Friday, September 22, 2023

Regarding Council Unanimous Decision to Remove Canary Pines Which Should Not Have Been Planted

Letters to the Editor submitted to The Coronado Times are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher, editors or writers of this publication. Submit letters to [email protected].

Submitted by Berie Grobe

I am writing regarding the Council meeting to be held on August 15, 2023 for reconsideration of the unanimous vote on July 18 to remove the four Canary Pines on D Avenue adjacent to the City’s Lawn Bowling Green.

Because of the hubbub among a group of tree lovers caused by Councilman Tanaka’s vote for reconsideration, people should be aware that no new facts or solutions have been offered or mentioned that should alter the decision made by the Council after studying hundreds of pages of information from highly trained expert arborists, mycologists, engineers, and others gathered over two and a half years of study and analysis.

The loudest protests come from folks who know the least about the history and the benefits of the City’s lawn bowling Green. Further, they give no thought to the harm already caused by these trees to this City facility and the impending harm and cost of letting the roots continue their destructive course, which has a potential to cost an additional $150,000. They have no solution; their position is simple: Keep the trees regardless of root damage and cost to the City.

Driven by what Councilman Tanaka describes as “outrage” they are screaming without even knowing that the Canary Pine is a “restricted” tree permitted only in circumstances where there is no likelihood of root and other damage. Indeed, it is hard to understand why these very large trees with invasive roots were ever planted in the narrow 6-foot parkway by the City’s bowling green where they can also damage the sidewalk. The Coronado Municipal Code requires in Section 52.32.070 a determination that “the potential invasiveness of tree roots shall be considered to avoid such common problems as buckling of planters, sidewalks or curbs.”  Since the two smaller trees were planted after the 2004 Street Tree Master Plan restricted them, clearly a mistake was made. I have no arborist training but I even realize that large trees with long aggressive roots like Canary Pines are potentially invasive. This mistake should be corrected by the removal of the trees as our Council voted. The idea that we should keep trees which never should have been planted and are still constituting a hazard is offensive to good sense and good judgment. Our Council was right in their carefully considered vote and the ideas of people that Councilman Tanaka has found on Facebook who don’t know what they are talking about should be rejected.

Since the Canary Pines are on the City’s restricted tree list, permission is first denied if this tree is requested. If that request is pursued, permission will only be granted if it can be ascertained and decided by the City Engineer that there will be no likely root damage with underground utilities and other infrastructure. Again, two of the restricted Canary Pines were planted by the bowling Green after 2004 without even so much as a mention to the public or the caretaker bowlers.

As explained on July 18, if the roots are permitted to continue growing it is likely that the harm already done to the playing base of the Green will be so aggravated and extensive that the playing base will have to be rebuilt at an additional cost of over $150,000. If the trees are removed, it is expected that this can be averted and in addition no root barrier will be needed on D Avenue, saving the City an additional $60,000 (or more). The law is clear, and the Council did and should follow the law. Section 52.32.100 provides: “Trees or palms on public property are to be removed if they present a condition that is hazardous and cannot be corrected by pruning or any other means. Removal is warranted if the cost of maintaining the tree or palm is greater than its value.” A barrier on D Avenue is no guarantee of success and the cost is over $60,000 (and may end up being $210,000), removal is clearly warranted; the law should be followed as the Council repeatedly said at the last meeting when they all voted to close the car wash.

The unanimous vote of the City Council on July 18 should again be confirmed.

Berie Grobe

Managing Editor
Managing Editor
Originally from upstate New York, Dani Schwartz has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is happy to call Coronado home and to have raised her children here. In her free time she enjoys reading, exercising, trying new restaurants, and just walking her dog around the "island." Have news to share? Send tips or story ideas to: [email protected]