Harrison Hot Springs Village Council unanimously rejected a development proposal that would see 22 trees in Rendall Park cut down. (Adam Louis/Observer)

Harrison Hot Springs Village Council unanimously rejected a development proposal that would see 22 trees in Rendall Park cut down. (Adam Louis/Observer)

LOUIS: Reflections in Rendall Park

There are some areas of Agassiz-Harrison I have yet to explore in my time as editor, but I did get to cross one more off the list last week.

I visited Rendall Park for the first time. For those of us who are new or visiting in town, if you were to go down Esplanade Avenue in Harrison Hot Springs and take the fork that goes around the boat launch, you would ultimately get to Rendall Park. It’s a lovely little slice of wooded heaven that is well-loved by residents and tourists alike. The old trees offer shade along the winding paths while overlooking Harrison Lake. In some ways, it reminds me of Memorial Park in Hope, another patch of natural tranquility tucked in the heart of the district.

Getting a look at Rendall Park gave me perspective on the council’s most recent decision concerning 511 Lillooet Avenue. The 100-plus housing units and commercial space have been in and out of discussion for several months. Most recently, councillors unanimously sent it back to the drawing board for a number of reasons, not the least of which would be the potential loss of more than 20 trees in the area, including several in Rendall Park.

Having seen the park now, I can’t imagine what it would look like with nearly 20 trees removed. It’s frankly inexcusable to not have a plan in place to either go around the trees or replace them at least two-fold in these days where climate change’s impact is only increasing at home and across the world.

While there is something to be said for development and progress to some degree, now more than ever, there needs to be a balance in the way we look at planning for the future. It simply must include environmental considerations to an unprecedented degree to ensure we are investing in the future in the best way possible, even if we are ultimately not around to see it. It would be foolish, selfish and extraordinarily short-sighted to neglect the generations to come.

So, yes, I will give credit where it’s due: I think the council took a solid stand on the issue. The work to make the world a better place is never really over. It’s nice that there’s an urban forest study in place for Harrison Hot Springs and the District of Kent is working on revising the active transportation plan. However, if the past little while in Harrison and beyond has shown us anything, it’s that follow-through is everything.

Planning is great, but it only gets you so far. If there is no action, we need an update. If more time passes, we must demand action of our elected officials and those otherwise in power. Again, I ask you, Harrison residents, District of Kent residents – do you feel, up to this point, your leaders have done enough to realistically move forward on projects that help protect our environment? If they haven’t gone far enough, do you trust that they will keep the torch burning until the job is done? Oct. 15 is closer than you think.

We’re doing some good in the world, but we need to keep it going, for our sake and for the sake of those who would come after us.

agassizHarrison Hot SpringsOpinion

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