A tragedy for birds and tenants

Dear Editor

This is something I have to get off my chest.

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I live at Valley View Towers in Tower one which was opened in 1978. Out at the back, until this year, there were little garden plots for the tenants who like to garden. There is a 98-year-old woman in my building who loves to garden. But read on and you will find out why there are no gardens out there this summer.

Also out at the back stood beautiful, tall, stately spruce trees. They were like guardians of our building and they were also a windbreak from the west wind. Those trees were there before the building was built in 1978.

So with spruce trees, of course, there are birds, lots of birds, different kinds from wee tiny ones to big ones. And we had squirrels visiting, too. With all the birds meant a giant handmade bird feeder was installed and how the birds loved it. There were two birdbaths which the tenants kept clean and supplied with water. The birds always drank there and loved bathing in them. And I am positive there were innumerable bird nests in those trees and baby birds.

So, of course, we tenants spent a lot of time bird watching, an entertaining occupation for seniors. There’s not much else to do unless you play cards.

It takes many years to grow a tree, but it only takes a few minutes with a chain saw and “poof” that tree is gone with nothing left but an ugly stump.

It started like this. A couple of months ago what they call a memorandum was left in our building by the “powers that be.” It began by saying, “what is a rooming house?” A lot more was said. The gist of the letter  — this location was chosen out of a limited number of City properties, to build a house to be a home for up to eight individuals and research has shown that a rooming house is best suited for strong neighbourhoods. And I might add this property was bought from the City for one dollar as was stated in this newspaper awhile ago. We knew by this that something was up.

On May 15, another memorandum was left in the building stating the housing authority had been advised the parking behind Valley View Tower currently infringes upon the City right of way or alley. This situation must be rectified. After 40 years it must change.

Their only option is to remove the concrete retainer, the parking plug pedestals, the garden beds and the trees to make room for tenant parking. The parking area will be re-established where the garden beds are currently located. So there definitely won’t be any gardens for the garden lovers this year. Maybe never again. And the tenants always got flowers from the greenhouse to put out there. Each one of us usually put a basket or a planter out there.

The memorandum stated tree removals was slated for May 23. We all knew this was going to happen, but you kind of hope, at the last minute, they might be saved. No such thing happened. At 1 p.m. a man with a chainsaw arrived and made short work of them. And a wood chipper finished the job. We took pictures, but the trees are gone. It looks so barren out there now. It was almost like losing a family member as we watched them go down. I am a tree lover so I sure did hate to see those beautiful trees go.

 If one doesn't care for trees you are no doubt thinking why the big fuss. I have to add this: I was told a day after the trees were gone a pair of robins stopped by to check out the situation and they showed their displeasure as only robins can. Maybe they had a nest in one of the trees.

Donna Neale

North Battleford

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