Notre Dame Poplars – Wild Bird Trust of BC Concerned for Nesting Birds

They want to see biologist’s report that allowed falling during nesting season

The Wild Bird Trust of BC is concerned about cutting down the Kaslo Street poplars during nesting season. They wonder, as do we, how such a significant urban green space could apparently contain so few nesting birds. The group is asking for the immediate release of the report by the biologist hired by Notre Dame, so they can evaluate it. They also want the school to leave the remaining trees alone until this report is made public and time is set aside for a proper review.

Notre Dame Neighbours appreciates the Wild Bird Trust of BC stepping forward like this to support of our neighbourhood’s efforts to protect the Kaslo poplars during nesting season. We’ve known for a long time about the great habitat these trees provide our local birds. It was shocking to see them fall last week.

We’ve asked Notre Dame for a copy of the biologist’s report and we’ve submitted a Freedom of Information request (FOI) to the City. The school has so far not released it and FOI requests usually take many weeks. We hope the intervention by the Wild Bird Trust of BC will spur some action.

The biologist’s report must be made public immediately. We need to know how the review was done and make sure it wasn’t a just a quick glance, followed by a rubber stamp.

In the meantime, Notre Dame must leave the remaining poplars alone.

Here is the complete letter from the Wild Bird Trust of BC:

The Wild Bird Trust of BC is seriously concerned with the removal of mature trees in the height of nesting season which surround the Notre Dame high school in East Vancouver.

Given the serious optics of skimming past or minimizing contravention of the Migratory Bird Convention Act (1994) we would like to understand how only a nominal pair of nests was identified in this significant urban greenspace. Given the Greenest City objectives and the COV’s commitment to transparency (as well as in support of good faith and building and repairing trusting relationships in communities) information concerning the trees removal should be made immediately available to the Notre Dame Neighbours Committee. Such information would be a scientific report provided by Notre Dame’s contracted biologist which was used by the City to greenlight mature poplar trees being removed at the height of nesting season. The Wild Bird Trust of BC is also interested to review the report submitted to the City.

We are concerned that local residents organizing to protect nesting birds would be required by the City to pursue an FOI to access a biologists report which was sent to the City to justify the actions. Treating this information as confidential is totally against the spirit of transparency, and the Greenest City objectives of promoting citizen engagement with its principles.

It is our request that no further trees be removed until the report is made public, outside of any FOI process, and that the City not approve the removal of mature trees in nesting season without (at the very least) providing transparency in decision making.

Sincerely,
Irwin Oostindie
President, Wild Bird Trust of BC

If you want to express your concerns to the school and demand to see the biologist’s report, you can email Notre Dame’s Good Neighbour Committee at community.relations@ndrs.org and copy Katherine.Isaac@vancouver.ca the City of Vancouver’s City’s manager of Urban Landscape Development.

If you want to get in touch with us, comment below or email us at notredameneighbours@gmail.com

Again, many thanks to the Wild Bird Trust of BC for their support.

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