‘There’s endless possibilities’: Saint John carpenters hope to give new life to fallen trees
Post-tropical storm Dorian toppled trees across the Maritimes, including centuries old trees in Saint John’s historic King’s Square.
The city is considering different ways to preserve the wood of the fallen and damaged trees. One option is to partner with Catapult Training and Employment, a group that helps people who face barriers to getting a job take their first steps into the workplace.
“Whether they're homeless, or coming out of a drug addiction, recovering, we don't discriminate, we'll take really anyone who needs help,” says Jeremy Robinson, with Catapult Training and Employment.
One of the things they teach at Catapult is furniture making. When several large trees from King's Square were uprooted during post-tropical storm Dorian, a lightbulb went off for Robinson.
“I knew that something great could be done with it, not just to honour the history but to help change lives,” says Robinson.
As city crews work to clear the fallen trees from the square, Robinson hopes to give the wood a second life by turning it into furniture for the city.
“Going hand-in-hand with the community aspect, I see a giant community table, there's endless possibilities of what it could become,” says Robinson. “Of course things would have to be sawed up and kiln dried, but then you could make anything.”
While the potential project would benefit the city, it would also provide a training opportunity for the clients at Catapult.
“It was a shame to see those trees go down, but it'd be nice for me and for the other workers here if we had the opportunity to make something good happen out of it,” says carpenter David Derrah. “That's the type of wood that we work with here.”
The city has said it plans to explore options to salvage some of the wood in a way that respects the history of the trees in King's Square. Although they don't have the green light for the project yet, Robinson says he just doesn't want to see the wood from these historic trees go to waste.
With files from CTV’s Laura Lyall.