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Stop wasting time on wrong trees

Letter to the Editor


In a recent letter to the editor, the mayor of Coulee Dam states that it is the duty of the town council to “protect the infrastructure” of the town. The basic essence of protection is to replace the bad with the good or the wrong with the right.

Councilperson Gail Swaggerty said that the cherry trees on Stevens are the “wrong trees.” Councilperson David Schmidt said the cherry trees on Stevens are the “wrong trees.” David Schmidt even signed the recommendation to remove the cherry trees. A stewardship forester with the Washington Department of Natural Resource said, “wrong trees, wrong place.” The certified ISA arborist and owner of Community Forestry Consultants, the company that completed the recent tree inventory for the town, said the trees are a “poor choice in this situation.”

Is it a violation of an ordinance to replace a healthy tree that is the wrong tree with a healthy tree that is the right tree? The compelling reason in the cherry trees removal is their continuing uplifting of public property, causing an unchecked liability to the town. The trees are continuing to damage lawns, flower beds, sprinkler systems, making lawns difficult to maintain and unsafe to walk on. When is this all going to end? It has to start somewhere!

The mayor said, “we are uncertain as to which specific trees.” Who is WE? Is the mayor speaking for the entire town and/or the town council? The way to be specific about which trees is to amend the motion of Dec. 9, 2015, to include the recommendation to remove the trees located at 310 Stevens and 315 Stevens.

I was not aware of the fact that I am required to obtain “building permits or other applicable permits” to request the removal of a tree. What do building permits and a sewer line have to do with this tree removal controversy?

On Jan. 27, the town council will be considering this matter for the third time. How much time has the mayor spent on this matter? I would think that the mayor should be spending his time in a more productive manner. What about the sewer plant? How about a police chief? How about lights on the Columbia River bridge? How about a town maintenance supervisor? How about ambulance service? We have spent far too much time considering this matter. It is time that we all move forward, remove the trees and stop wasting time talking about the wrong trees.

Bruce Bartoo

Coulee Dam

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