I am a resident of Parkdale Manor in Summerland.
Two years ago, browsing online, I discovered the manor. I was attracted not only to the comfortable suites but also to the beautiful courtyard with a mountain ash tree as its centre piece. Visiting, I discovered the lovely tree to be even more awesome than the photo shows.
I applied, was accepted and moved in. The staff are remarkably friendly, the atmosphere family-like and the food excellent.
Last week as we sat at dinner Wayne Cyback, manager of Parkdale Housing visited to tell us that the mountain ash was coming down. He said its roots were heaving the courtyard bricks, creating a tripping hazard.
We were all too stunned to answer. He departed, leaving us to ponder the fate of the tree that we all loved for it beauty and its shade. But he promised he would put up a shelter of some sort with an aluminium roof where we could escape the hot sun when we wanted to sit outside.
I needed a day or two to think about the situation, and decided that I owed it to myself and my fellow tenants to let Wayne know how we felt. So I wrote him a letter.
He was courteous enough to come to see me immediately, and to show me the details of what the tree roots were doing to the interlocking bricks in the courtyard. I saw there is a problem, but it was obvious that cutting down the tree was not the only solution.
He said he would not consider replacing the mountain ash, and when I questioned him about the three beautiful mature trees in the front yard which are causing heaving in the brick walkway between them, he said they also would eventually have to go.
After encountering Wayne’s brick wall resistance I decided to send a copy of that letter to Orv Robson who is chairman of the Parkdale Housing Board of Directors. Orv also responded immediately and was understanding, but indicated that the board had a contract with Wayne which gave him responsibility for making decisions of this nature. I was back at the brick wall.
If the mountain ash comes down, people will still visit the manor, but they will be less tempted to make it their home.
Residents will still live at the manor but they will be less inclined to sit in the lovely courtyard. Trees are living beings that make people feel at home.
Aluminium shade devices are mechanical things that people use out of necessity, not because they are comforting and make them want to linger.
Grooming the tree and the brickwork may cost a bit more in the short run. But how much will it cost in the long run if the manor loses it’s trees one by one?
Just like I was, people will be drawn to stay here because of the homey feelings of trees. How many potential clients will be turned off by a cheap looking aluminium shelter at the centre of the courtyard?
And how many brick wall experiences will tenants tolerate before they begin to move on?
Parkdale Housing is a non-profit organization with a history of excellent service to seniors in Summerland and area. I would like to see that reputation continue untarnished. Perhaps it needs to review its self-declared goals?
“Focusing on client and family satisfaction, staff are committed to the Society’s values of compassion, commitment to excellence, cooperation and innovative approaches to client services.”