Just say no

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By Gary Covington

Looking In

Thursday, May 1, 2014


That's the City Engineer's plan to cut down the trees on Dacudao Avenue in order to 'improve' the central canal - what used to be Agdao Creek and which drains a substantial part of Buhangin, Bajada and Agdao. It's also a substantial canal - I've never seen it even half-full. The canal embankment needs some remedial attention, feeder culverts are plainly blocked but where is the need to whack down an avenue of full-grown trees just to carry out de-sludging and minor construction work?  Or is this the city's cunning plan to do away with the irksome and regular business of pruning? Or sweeping fallen leaves. Think of the money we'll save if we get rid of those trees. Roxas next.

I rarely agree with stirrers Idis - Interface Development Interventions - but I'm with them here. Dacudao Avenue, apart from the junk-sorting at the lower end (And why does the city put up with that?), is what a city avenue should look like. Reasonably smart, usually clean and a green relief after the cement and clapboard horror of the Boulevard which, like Dacudao, is a dual carriageway with central reservation but no trees. Surely, rather than chopping down the trees on Dacudao, the city engineer should be planning to plant trees on the central reservation of the ill-named Boulevard. Imagine - shady, pleasant, no nighttime dazzle from oncoming drivers who haven't yet read the manual and found the dipswitch.


The City Engineer's office, you'll note, gives the nod to those gigantic eyesores hundreds of feet high which do nothing more than advertise meatloaf or some fading B-celebrity endorsing washing powder. It's the same office which approves the six-monthly and unnecessary re-asphalting of Claveria, Magellanes and San Pedro (All within a stone's-throw of the City Hall and SP building) while resolutely ignoring the appalling state of suburban feeder roads - presumably a case of out of sight, out of mind. Asphalting which has now raised the crown of those streets higher than the sidewalks, burying utility covers and choking drainage gullies. Most cities rip up the old surface before applying the new. Not here - we lay on another coat as if painting the kitchen. Next time you're ankle deep in floodwater you'll know where to point the finger.

Cenro (the City Environment and National Resources) is by definition guardian of the nation's resources and trees are a resource. Just say no.

Still on the environment and scary headlines the other day - 'Bankerohan bridge closed', 'Two-hour tailback on McArthur Highway' - and that's before classes return and the triple-parked mayhem outside Atenao De Davao University.

The City Engineer's office - them again - tell us the bridge will be closed for six months. You'd think that now would be the time for the traffic people and our honourables to be seriously encouraging bicycling as a means for getting to the city, at least for short-distance commuters coming from the south. Maybe a rentabike scheme. Maybe even a dedicated bicycle lane along McArthur - there's plenty of room - and strict enforcement of traffic lane-keeping. A golden opportunity for the city to promote the green ticket. Never happen of course, let's approve another mall or two, clog up the city's pre-war road system with even more traffic and if it's green chop it down or lay cement over it.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 01, 2014.


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