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Burnaby chops down trees for daycare facility; resident concerned for nearby herons

The trees were 'likely all less than 100 years of age,' according to the city.

Seventeen trees have been cut down to make way for a child-care facility meant for City of Burnaby staff, sparking concerns about a nearby heron colony.

Heymann Yip, leader of the neighbourhood group Save Burnaby Parks and Green Space, said the location of the child-care facility at 4248 Rowan Ave. and 6250 Deer Lake Ave. could be encroaching on the nesting site of a Pacific blue heron colony.

"With those trees all taken down, that's going to change the landscape for the blue herons," Yip said, noting herons nest in the trees almost right next door to the child-care site.

He said he has concerns the loss of the trees will confuse the herons when they return for nesting season.

But the city says it has followed the guidelines in its great blue heron colony management plan.

The city cut down the trees outside of the herons' nesting season and ensured there were no heron nests on the property.

"Child care is an urgent need in Burnaby, but we also recognize the importance of ensuring that development does not have an adverse impact on local ecology," said city spokesperson Chris Bryan.

He said the city cut down seven western red cedars that were "relatively large in size."

"They were likely all less than 100 years of age, young for a species of tree that can live for hundreds of years," Bryan said.

He said the city's forestry team plans to plant 40 new trees once the project is complete.

Great blue herons nest at Deer Lake in Burnaby. By Glen Govier/Contributed/File Photo

The Pacific great blue herons have been nesting at Deer Lake in Burnaby since at least 2005, according to a city sign.

The subspecies is listed as "vulnerable" in B.C.

The herons start to arrive in mid-February.

The $8.1-million Rowan Avenue child-care facility will have space for 74 children and include two infant-toddler programs (ages zero to 36 months) and two for preschool (ages three to five).

City staff and Burnaby RCMP will have priority for spaces, and local families will be able to fill the rest.