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Memorial tree won't be harmed by underground wire project

A maple tree planted in 1923 to commemorate First World War veteran A.W. Wilson will be protected during installation of underground wiring in Fort Langley.  - Natasha Jones/Langley Times
A maple tree planted in 1923 to commemorate First World War veteran A.W. Wilson will be protected during installation of underground wiring in Fort Langley.
— image credit: Natasha Jones/Langley Times

Overhead or underground: Fort Langley residents and business owners are divided on the issue of removing power poles and wires and burying them.

A slim majority of property owners approved removal, and on Oct. 22, Township council voted to go ahead with the removal, rejecting a suggestion that the wires be buried in easements behind commercial buildings.

There will be significant disruption while the $3 million project is carried out, and many merchants are wondering to what extent the disruption will impact their businesses.

But one aspect of the construction has been more or less glossed over, and it involves the big leaf maple that stands on the corner of Glover Road and 96 Avenue.

Last week, engineering director Ramin Seifi, and Eric Woodward, president of the Fort Langley Business Improvement Area, both gave assurances that everything will be done to protect the tree from harm when construction around it is carried out.

Seifi said that the design for the new streetscape after wires and poles have been removed has not yet begun, but it will not ignore the tree.

As a listed Heritage Tree, the maple is protected. But its trunk is inches from a power pole, and power lines stretch through its branches.

It was planted in 1923 to honour A.W. Wilson who had been killed in action at Vimy Ridge six years earlier.

Several other commemorative trees were planted to honour men from Langley who died in the First World War conflict.

Three others are still standing — a tree on Trattle Street in Fort Langley commemorates Alfred Trattle; one on Wright Street in Fort Langley commemorates Jesse Wright and one at Glover Road and 216 Street (formerly Johnston Townline Road) in Milner commemorates Arthur Johnston.

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