A literal windfall turned into a metaphorical windfall for public works crews in Ladysmith this winter.
Trees downed by the massive pre-Christmas windstorm were salvaged and are continuing to provide raw materials for a steady list of projects.
According to a media release from the town, 25 cedar and Douglas fir trees knocked over onDec. 20 were pulled from the forest and milled into roughly 8,000 board feet, which would have otherwise been purchased by the Town.
“Ladysmith’s entire trail network from Holland Creek to Stocking and Heart Lake was impacted by the December windstorm,” said Mayor Aaron Stone. “While the opportunity to salvage resource material from Town land is rare, the practice is in the spirit of the town’s sustainability vision as we strive to be responsible stewards of our local parks and natural ecosystems.”
Many of the salvaged trees came from directly behind the public works yard along Holland Creek Trail, one of the areas hit hardest by the storm.
“Town crews were able to use boards from the milled Douglas fir trees to install a new log birling pond cover at the Transfer Beach Amphitheatre,” said CAO Guillermo Ferrero. “The remaining timber stock is going into inventory and will be used over the coming years for the various projects from stairs to railings to benches to whatever we might need– often in our public parks.”
In total, town crews and contracted tree fallers spent several weeks clearing over 230 fallen trees from the trail network. However, many were in difficult to reach areas and couldn’t be pulled from the forest for milling.
The Holland Creek Trail section behind the Public Works Yard was closed for several weeks to ensure public safety due to a washed out embankment that happened during the December windstorm.
The Town reopened the stretch between the RCMP detachment and Mackie Road trailhead earlier in March.
A geotechnical engineering assessment prescribed building a retaining wall and laying coco matting to reduce any future risk of erosion along the embankment. Laying this environmentally friendly and durable product made from coconut tree fibres helps in the Town’s ongoing efforts to restore vegetation growth in this area.
Trail users also may have noticed that the Holland Creek Trail now diverts slightly as a result of this restoration work. The path has been regraded to ensure it is solid, safe and secure.