Arbour Day turnout down but job done 

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Turnout for Whistler’s 11 th annual Arbour Day wasn’t as good as previous years, but there were enough volunteers to get the job done.

The main job on May 11 was planting trees in the north gravel pit of the Emerald Forest.

Last year municipal staff recontoured the former gravel pit and spread biosolids over the area, in preparation for this year’s Arbour Day planting. Municipal landscape supervisor Paul Beswetherick says the biosolids may have scared some volunteers away this year.

"There may have been some reluctance to work with the biosolids," Beswetherick said. "We didn’t hide the fact we’d be working with them, but there is very little odour from the material."

Beswetherick said on the other hand it may just have been the sunny weather that prompted people to find other things to do on a Saturday morning than plant trees.

He said there was some material that didn’t get planted Saturday but municipal crews took care of that, planting the last trees Monday morning.

A second planting, involving members of the Whistler Rotary Clubs, took place at Whistler Creek Saturday.

"It was great to see everyone out. We had a great turnout by Rotary at Whistler Creek, and tremendous support from the business community," Beswetherick said. "All the grocery stores contributed to the volunteers’ barbecue in the afternoon."

The tree planting was the third step in the rehabilitation of the north gravel pit in the Emerald Forest. Last summer a number of mountain bike trails in the area were decommissioned. That was followed by the recontouring and the spreading of the biosolids.

AWARE is working on a sign program that will show the rehabilitation steps in the Emerald Forest.

And there is more work ahead. A new pipeline, carrying drinking water from 21 Mile Creek to Tapley’s Farm, will be built this year and will run through the Emerald Forest area. That’s why the bottom of the north gravel pit wasn’t planted this year.

The pipeline will run along the dirt road through the Emerald Forest and the south gravel pit. Tree planting and rehabilitation of the south gravel pit will take place next summer.

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