Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain says he’s just as shocked and saddened by the cutting of some much-loved and historic cherry blossom trees in the city as anyone else.
The trees were cut down Friday by crews contracted to do landscaping by the Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) at the DFO building property.
Brain says the actions appear to be the result of miscommunication; in speaking with PSPC, he was told that the contract simply mentioned landscaping to “modernize” federal properties and that no mention was made of cutting down the trees.
The trees were part of a donation to the city by Shotaro (Tom) Shimizu who came to Canada in 1905 and was part owner/operator of the New Dominion Hotel and Restaurant unit he was ordered to an internment camp during World War II.
In the late 1950s and early 60s, Shimizu made two separate donations of 500 and 1000 cherry blossom trees to the city, with many planted near public buildings.
Brain says staff with PSPC feel terrible about what happened and want to make amends with the city given the significance of the trees.
Although Brain says the deed is done, he promises not to stop until PSPC makes the situation right, including paying tribute to the history of the trees and the Shimizu family.