Talk To the Trees

How exciting! Our little stretch of Broadway is renewed. The old bricks are gone and the new sidewalks installed. They correct hazards endured by many for a long time. Those old bricks made for some painful events. They had help.

The other half to this duo of disaster, were the trees abutting the sidewalk. The trees grew into beauties fulfilling the horticulturalist’s every wish. They signalled the seasons. In their youth, all was well, but with age came the unanticipated, big roots. As they grew, the trees and their roots did an excellent job of pushing up the sidewalk creating significant hills and valleys. Upheavals of battered bricks mounded to create a gut wrenching sensation of being on a roller coaster while navigating your walking course. Tripping or slipping was common and accompanied with embarrassment and distemper. After all, it is not fun picking up your groceries, spilling your full cup of coffee or picking a new dress from a puddle. High-healed women took the brunt of this force. They stepped carefully through the maze of uneven, broken brick, hills and valleys. It seemed as if a short walk required the skill set of an iron man participant. The task being to hold your coffee cup in one hand, your new clothes in the other while avoiding bad umbrella etiquette as you twist your ankle slipping into a puddle while appearing to be demure. The roots must have cheered when a senior on a modified geriatric speedster launched her vehicle into the open-air fruit display at the local market. Apples and oranges tumbled helter-skelter as muttered Cantonese instruction or obscenities ensued. No one understood nor gave much attention to this as they rushed to remove the apples and oranges from her lap and reposition her on the scooter. The abused apples and oranges now discounted for quick sale. It was not long before the blatant disregard the trees had for our welfare met with the force of giant machines. It was a love-hate exercise where the machines ripped the most belligerent trees from their places. Their roots soon to be forgotten, as new concrete cured. The other more considerate trees remain today, seemingly happier not to have to share their sunshine.

The new sidewalks look and feel good. Walking and window-shopping is once more a treat. Incorporated in the design is a feature of expanded gathering places. These are little by-ways of space enclosed with greenery. A favourite is in front of Garlands, the local flower shop. It’s a great spot to see a fabulous window display while being welcomed with the outpouring tropical scent of flowers in full bloom. When the day is full, it’s a good place to stop and smell the roses. These by-ways are great place to step out of the moving crowd and catch your breath. Often you meet up with neighbours for a chat, or use them as a kind of passing lane. Great if you have a large umbrella. If you are not in hurry, it’s a nice place to linger and watch the people go by while sipping on your coffee. The planners, architects and engineers must be congratulating themselves. They have a winner!

Momma always said that with good comes bad. Recently, while waiting to cross the street near this favourite spot an unfortunate planning-architect-engineering oversight revealed itself. It dims the enthusiasm for the new sidewalks. In each of the gathering places is a drainage system. We get a lot of rain here so this is a good thing to have. These new systems have a very fancy grate that designed to protect people from falling into the catch basin. A good idea except the engineers forgot about one thing again. The trees! Funny things, trees. They do two things in life. They grow big roots and many, many leaves. In our neighbourhood when winter approaches these trees get cold and drop all their leaves to the ground. Unfortunately, like us, their leaves seem to have a similar affection for the new by-ways. Like us, they do what we do, they gather. Conjecture would suggest that in the world of leaves they are meeting and talking about what’s going on in the vicinity. There are many among us who might think so. When they gather at these by-ways unlike us, they seem to loiter for a longer time. Their multitudes interfere stopping all passers by plugging the grates. You could almost imagine it to be a picket line protesting against having ripped their brothers and sisters from their former homes. The protest is successful. The gathering rain does not pass. They all swim around in this every increasing puddle barring us from sharing the space.

Engineers, planners and their associated professions trained to minimize these types of actions. When they don’t, it’s a big puddle. A REALTOR could have helped with the problem. He/she would have told them that they need all parties to agree and to make sure no one with an interest is out of the deal. A REALTOR would have taken the nuances of the parties involved and found a balance to bring the deal together. Our new sidewalks will always seem like a deal that’s missing something. Every fall we will be reminded why this happened. No one talked to the trees!

About Larry Yatkowsky

Larry is a recognized real estate expert. A veteran professional, his experienced counsel leads Vancouverites in his west side community to place their trust in a man passionate about his work. Uncompromising ethics bring a balanced approach to realizing your real estate dreams.

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*Disclaimer: Statistics Courtesy REBGV. While believed to be accurate they are not guaranteed.
**Numbers provided may vary as they are dynamically posted by the REBGV.

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