Every year 1100 diseased and dead trees fall, or are removed from Vancouver boulevards and public parks. Many are unique, or valuable species of hardwoods, and most end up as sawdust or firewood.

Now COPE Park Commissioner Spencer Herbert hopes to make the wood available to local craftsmen for use in furniture, sculptures and other projects.

"I contacted the Pacific Woodworkers Guild, and the Greater Vancouver Woodturner’s Guild, as well as independent woodworkers to see if they could use fallen cherry wood, tulip wood, and many other varieties," said Herbert. "The answer was a resounding yes. Many of the woodworkers wanted to know how they can access to the wood to save it from the chopping block, and turn it into art creations ranging from bowls to furniture."

Herbert will move a motion at the May 12 Park Board meeting asking Board staff to develop a website that lets woodworkers find out how and where they can access wood from fallen trees.

“From a fallen tree to a beautiful creation, the Board can support Vancouver’s many master artisans and hobbyists while encouraging the re-use of a natural resource," said Herbert. "Rather than seeing beautiful wood go up in smoke where it produces climate damaging greenhouse gases, I believe we’ll instead see an increase in wonderful one of a kind art pieces.”

Herbert’s motion will also ask staff to look into using mobile milling technology so that some of the fallen street trees can be turned into lumber for park developments, flower beds and other uses.

“We can get a lot better at using what we have around us, rather than relying on shipping in materials. The environmental movement has shown us that local action has global consequences. This could be a small step towards a cleaner environment.”

Park Commissioner calls for creative use of fallen trees: says "we can do better than firewood."

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