Letter: Allow flexibility in replacing trees



Reading the Aug. 8 Columbian story “Sickening sycamores” made me sympathetic for owners at Indian Hills Condominiums. I have owned and landscaped homes in three states, including Washington, and consider myself familiar with the good, the bad and the ugly of various tree species. There are definitely problem tree species, yet the city of Vancouver and its arborist apparently refuse to recognize this.

According to their thinking, for example, if a homeowner planted a tree of heaven (ailanthus altissima) in 1970 and the house is sold in 2012, the new owner and all subsequent owners are stuck with this miserable tree. A tree that has been banned by three states and classified as an invasive weed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Yet, it would not be removed in Vancouver.

For the sake of its residents and in the name of common sense, the city of Vancouver needs to develop a flexible plan where a tree can be removed and replaced by a more appropriate species. We all enjoy the beauty of trees and their benefits toward cleaner air but there should also be the opportunity to correct mistakes

Michael Balcer