There was a time when the Town of Fort Frances valued trees along the boulevards of the community.
Today, the only trees the town fathers appreciate are the single-stemmed ones holding wires in the air.
When the Dutch Elm disease ravaged and destroyed the American Elms that flourished along Fort Frances' historic streets, providing a canopy of shade on hot summer days and a golden cathedral when the leaves turned a brilliant gold in the fall, the council of the time in the early 1980s encouraged its citizens to replace those trees.
In summer, the trees provided shade and helped cool homes from the blistering heat of the sun.
It has taken more than three decades for the maple, basswood, and ash trees approved by the then council to provide similar shade and shelter. The bareness stemming from the loss of the elms had been eliminated.
But today, council has approved the removal of the trees on the north side of the 200 block of Second Street East so the street infrastructure can be rebuilt.
The trees were part of the landscape and infrastructure of the community—and their loss will be felt. But even more disturbing, we suspect this is just the beginning and that future street infrastructure repairs also will call for the removal of trees from town streets.
Before any future clear-cutting of street trees takes place, town council and the planning board should hold open discussions with residents on how the community landscape should appear.
Do we want our older streets with trees to be turned into a wasteland or do we want to maintain the green of Fort Frances? The former Jaycees and town council of the 1980s created a project called “The Greening of Fort Frances” and found a way to provide saplings to the community to plant on the boulevards.
It was forward thinking of the time.
What is the street beauty planning of this council?