Tuesday 22 July 2008

"Important companions"

Twenty or so years ago, novelist and translator David Homel referred to our street, in a journalistic piece, as amiably run-down Roy Street. In the intervening years since then, gentrification had its way (and it must be said we were part of the process)—rooming houses became single-family dwellings once again and condos sprang up like urban mushrooms. Not long ago the city planted trees and the Plateau Mont-Royal borough is becoming greener year by year.

Regrettably, the future does not look good for the young trees lining the streets of our neighbourhood. Due to the high-speed kamikaze tactics of the borough’s mini Caterpillar drivers who barrel down our narrow streets during the winter months gouging trees (and hydro poles) as they go, the trees are at risk. In our own survey (both sides of Roy Street between Laval and Colonial; and both sides of Colonial Avenue between Roy and Napoléon), out of a total of 40 trees, 32, or 80%, have been damaged. At greatest risk are the trees on Coloniale. In a recent newspaper article, City of Montreal executive committee member Helen Fotopulos was quoted: “Trees are our most important companions... particularly in the downtown boroughs where every tree counts.” Let’s hope that as the mayor of Plateau-Mont Royal, she takes steps to preserve our green heritage.

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