News / Calgary

International Avenue to uproot estimated 370 trees

A variety of tree’s will be uprooted to make way for BRT project

Alison Karim-McSwiney said she’s excited for the new updates planned for International Avenue, especially for the estimated 500 new trees that will give the area a much-needed facelift.

Josie Lukey / For Metro

Alison Karim-McSwiney said she’s excited for the new updates planned for International Avenue, especially for the estimated 500 new trees that will give the area a much-needed facelift.

There’s a Russian olive tree along 17th Avenue SE that Alison Karim-McSwiney of International Avenue Business Revitalization Zone sees everyday.

Because of the city’s estimated $96 million bus rapid transit project in the area, it could be hers. But with her yard already full, Karim-McSwiney is doing her best to make sure the 370 estimated trees that will be uprooted for the project find a new home - including the Russian olive.

“If we can make it where we can save these trees, then we are making it better for the environment, we’re making it better as a green initiative and we can also improve the communities at least by having more trees. It benefits everybody,” said Karim-McSwiney.

According to Michael Cox from the City of Calgary, any trees that cannot be relocated or reused will be mulched for green spaces or public parks in the city - something Karim-McSwiney wants to avoid.

“All we care about is making sure that these trees live,” she said, adding that trees are important in providing oxygen, beauty and are ultimately good for the environment.

A selection of elm, pine, aspen and oak trees as well as a few shrubs are up for purchase for about $400 each. Included in the cost, the trees will be dug-up, wrapped, delivered and re-planted anywhere in the province by a local contractor.

The new landscape design for 17th Avenue SE includes over 500 new trees with only 58 of the uprooted trees to be used in the new design. Also included in the first phase of the BRT project are wider sidewalks, cycling facilities and heated waiting areas.

Construction is set to begin in the fall with an estimated completion in 2018.

“We’re hoping within 10 days we will have most of the trees having a home,” said Karim-McSwiney. “The longer that they’re out the more that they’ll dry out, so we need to move very quickly.”

Those who purchase trees are being asked to contact Alberta One-Call in order to ensure no underground utilities are buried on their property.

For information about how to purchase one of the trees visit internationalavenue.ca.

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