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Save the Tree at Humboldt and Government

This petition had 1,242 supporters

The city of Victoria is planning on removing the iconic tree that sits in the intersection of Humboldt and Government. 

I am not affiliated with any organization but I am outraged that this would happen. They can replan their design to go around this living part of Victoria BC and show the world that we care about our precious living species that we share our space with. 

This tree has been here for decades and I have yet to see any functional reason for its removal besides the city have an idea for that intersection that doesn’t include it. 

Outrageous. Build around it. 

Please support me in asking them to rethink their plans and sign this petition. 

Here is a sample letter to send the city council and I’ve attached their response below. Letter courtesy of Trees Matter Netwrok. 

See footage on the tree proposed to come down.

Trees Matter Network
Jan 21, 2019, 8:39 PM 

Below is a template letter. Please use it if you would like to send an email to the ciy of Victoria about the Aspen tree slated for removal at Government and Humboldt downtown.

Feel free to add to or edit the letter. Sign it, and copy and paste it into an email. 
Send to:

Dear Mayor and Councillors,

Please act quickly to stop the current plan to sacrifice the beautiful tree at Government and Humboldt.  

We agree that cycling and pedestrian improvements, and sewer upgrades are all important. But in this time of climate crisis, there must be an alternative to removing a mature, healthy tree.

Our attitude that trees are “in the way” needs to change. We need to be more creative, work smarter, keep what we have and safeguard, not destroy it.

This tree is across from the Victoria Tourist Centre, near the Empress Hotel and the Inner Harbour – a tourist hub. Tourists come because Victoria is beautiful. Mature trees have been a great part of our beauty. Will they still come when Victoria is a city of stumps and saplings?

Mature trees do exponentially more for us than the saplings you would replace them with. They store perhaps 200 to 300 times more carbon; they create much more oxygen; they have a far greater ability to cool the air and create much more shade. They buffer more noise. They filter and divert more stormwater. They do all this for free. Our street trees alone save the city nearly $3 million a year, performing these services.

Mature trees are truly priceless. They are not replaceable in our lifetime. They take decades to grow. Let’s stop throwing away these valuable assets, this rich legacy from our forebears.

Trees are the most cost-effective way to reduce carbon dioxide and do so much more for us besides.

Study after study shows trees benefit us in many ways, both physically and mentally. Just being able to see trees from a hospital window reduced hospital stays. Workers who can see trees have reduced stress and fewer sick days. One researcher said the greatest benefits would come from “a tree by every doorstep”… Instead, we are fast heading in the opposite direction: no trees in sight.

Victoria must plan ways to retain our precious mature trees. If they are in the way, we’re on the wrong path.

(Your Name)

The City response to the when I sent the letter:



Thank you for getting in touch with the City of Victoria. Your email has been shared with Mayor and Council.


City staff explored a number of alternative designs during the planning stages for the underground utility replacement project and associated transportation upgrades at the intersection of Government, Humboldt and Wharf to avoid the loss of two trees.


The City does not take any tree removal lightly. We value and recognize the importance of trees as important natural assets in our community and know the important role trees have in an urban environment including contributing to improved air quality, temperature control, habitat for birds and insects, and an overall sense of place.


The utility replacement project required a Serbian Spruce to be removed in November 2018. This tree and its root system was directly in conflict with the City’s sanitary, storm and other underground infrastructure. Replacing this aging underground infrastructure is a critical part of servicing the needs of the growing population in the downtown core for decades to come. Once the project is completed, the new infrastructure is expected to last between 50 and 80 years.  


The second tree, a white birch, will be removed as a part of the intersection re-design to improve pedestrian movements, vehicle level of service and establish new protected bike lanes in the area. The engineering department, in coordination with Parks, explored a number of intersection designs to retain this central intersection tree, but had to compromise in order to ensure that all operational needs at this busy location were met (including travel space for tour buses, transit, emergency vehicles, horse & carriages, pedestrians, cyclists and private cars) to travel through the intersection.


Two new Red Oak trees will be planted in this location along with 4 additional trees at the intersection of Douglas and Humboldt Street. The new trees will be placed strategically in the pedestrian plaza, away from traffic and with ample room to grow to full maturity. 


We appreciate your support for investments and expansion of the urban forest and thank you for taking the time to share your concerns.


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