By Justin Seward
Jasper Fine Homes wrote a letter to Cypress County for a tree planting request around their 13- lot Dunmore subdivision.
County councillors reviewed the request at their July 20 meeting.
The home building company had requested to build tree lines of approximately 75 Poplar trees, 45 Spruce trees and 300 Lilac trees to be placed parallel to Third Avenue in Dunmore and south of Highway 1— which is located beside their 13-lot residential subdivision.
The intent is to plant the trees in three separate rows for added privacy, establishing a wind break and to create a sound barrier to reduce noise from the Trans-Canada Highway for their subdivision residences and homes in the immediate area.
“Jasper Fine Homes feels that the proposed trees will benefit the greater area and will add aesthetic value in the community,” as read in the agenda package.
Cypress County reccomended refusal due to the concerns snow drifting and maintenance to Third Avenue and the liability as well as the responsibility with costs for annual watering and assuming the assets for the irrigation system of the trees. The county’s director of municipal services Jeffrey Dowling noted to council that the estimated tree costs is $81,400 and the irrigation system would be $70,000.
John Hiebert of Jasper Homes said the one thing about Third Avenue is that it’s a bit higher than the subdivision and why this tree proposal came in.
“When you put trees down below on the property itself, it’ll be many years, if ever, that it’s maybe a sound barrier or even a visual,” said Hiebert.
“There’s a huge sign across the road that’s lit in the evening. So, that where this proposal came about is putting trees close to Third Avenue. I didn’t really think it would be that much of an issue because if you look at the Dunmore Dugout area, there (are) trees I don’t know nine feet, 10 feet, 12 feet away from the road on Third Avenue. Then farther towards Co-op gas station there’s plenty of trees . So, yeah, I would really appreciate if council would seriously consider this. I think it would be a beautification of Dunmore.”
Jasper Fine Homes was prepared to take on the financial responsibility of planting the trees, installing a dripline irrigation system and providing maintenance and tree replacement for up to two years.
Coun. Shane Hok had concerns of the county taking over the trees down the road.
“Maybe them people in Suffield will want us to put trees along the highway there to make it look beautiful,” said Hok.
“Walsh, Irvine—where does it stop? They can put it inside their property, fine, but I think we’re going to open a huge can of worms if we start taking it over and we’re doing the tree planting because I’d like some trees in front of my place along the highway.”
Dowling’s concern was with the resources needed to continue maintaining and looking after the trees.
“Those trees are going to have to be weeded to make sure that they’re established and continue to be supported,” said Dowling.
“There’ll have to be the maintenance, the mowing, the vegetation control in and around the trees as well and the capacity to be able to look after all that. I don’t know if we would have the ability to do that with the existing resources of equipment that we have.”
Deputy Reeve Richard Oster felt as though the idea of putting trees down below is not going to do anything due to the high road behind.
“I do like Robin’s (Kurpjuweit) idea to simplify the tree part of it, to put it down to one row—that would reduce our maintenance on it too. But I do understand where Jeffrey is coming from with the fact whatever we do, we got to live with. This project isn’t really moving and I think that they’ve stated they’re looking out the back and all they see is this big ridge and highway with a lot of vehicles going by. I don’t think we should say ‘No’ right away. I would like to consider a little bit more here.”
Reeve Dan Hamilton reminded council that it’s not county’s property, as it is Alberta Transportation who owns the land.
“Really we can’t authorize anything we put in there unless they approve it,” said Hamilton.
Coun. Darcy Geigle moved to deny the request with council’s approval.