Or is it 24 more?
Four more YangNa are to be axed for road widening is what I was told today at the Roads Department head office on the Super Hwy near the Chiangmai Promenada shopping center.
Mahodol Rd at Nong Hoi is two lane ( each way) roads officer Mr Somchai told me when I was ushered into his office to request planting of YangNa trees at the intersection with the Chiangmai-Lamphun Rd.
Their plan is to widen the Mahodol Rd to six lanes, and NO!” Yang trees would not be planted on the four large grassy triangles of land at the intersection”. In fact four more big Yang trees were to be cut down for the road expansion and this has already had approval from the Forests Department.
The Roads Department clearly have their own, dictated from Bangkok head office I was further informed, standards for roadside horticulture and landscape. Providing shade for the roadway and its travelers does not feature. Nor it seems from the fastidious trimming of hedges and trees in provinces all over the country is cost minimization considered. For example the manicured garden in front of the office stands as a rival to ChiangMai’s Royal Flora, while at the rear the elaborate concreting of this park space completely surrounded by roads rivals the pavements at Wat Chedi Luang in terms of both extravagance and potential harm to established trees.
As for the nature conservation authorities in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, which includes the Forest Department and the National Parks bureaucracy, they appear bereft of any policy to protect the natural values of roadsides, as well as streams and canals. As a relevant example, at a recent meeting in Nong Peung municipality in amphoe Sarapee, when I asked how many of the twenty big Yang trees would be at the third bypass road intersection with Chiangmai-Lamphun Rd, the the officer presenting newly decreed regulations to protect the trees of that once magnificent avenue, evaded the question. Perhaps the heading of this story should be 24 more YangNa to be axed for road widening?
There has been a good deal of activity of late led by Mae Jo University lecturer Bunchong Somboonchai and his team of Tree Doctor volunteers, attempting to return health to ailing big old trees both along the Chiangmai-Lamphun Rd and elsewhere.
Surely it is time the Chiang Mai community came to his aid in the manner of the Nan residents who objected to the Roads Department plans to destroy their “Tunnel of Teak”, and to insist on appropriate standards for tree care and establishment along our roadsides.