Iconic Saint John park loses 'century-old trees'
Published Monday, September 9, 2019 10:57PM ADT
One of Saint John's most iconic public parks has been badly damaged by the remnants of Hurricane Dorian that swept through the Maritimes on the weekend.
Several large, mature trees in King's Square in Saint John were toppled by Dorian's powerful winds.
Two days after Dorian, city arborist Chris Gaudet and other city workers are starting to clear away the mess the storm left behind.
"It's going to be a big job," Gaudet said. "It's probably gonna be a two-to-three-day job just to clean up the branches and everything and then after that, we'll deal with whatever wood we have left and then comes trying to deal with the stumps."
The downed trees are still drawing a crowd to the square, some to take photos, others just to see what Mother Nature can do.
"It's just unbelievable," said one resident. "It just looks like something unnatural has happened."
There were no injuries from these trees toppling over and there's a lot of gratitude going around.
"No one was hurt and there's still lots of trees left, so the square will survive," said one resident.
Graeme Stewart-Robertson is executive director of ACAP, which recently completed urban forest inventories in parts of Saint John.
"We do know as citizens how important it is," said Stewart-Robertson. "Especially these large, in some cases, century-old trees, what do they mean to us personally and as a community."
As for the why the trees uprooted, Gaudet points a combination of rain, wind and full foliage, but he still was surprised by the scene.
"I've never seen it hit in one spot like that before," Gaudet said. "You know, you get branches broken and trees broken throughout the square in other storms, but never this severe in one area of the park."
Gaudet says even though clean-up efforts are starting today, it could take weeks for king's square to get back to normal.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Laura Lyall.