Stephanie Mann

Green committee honours a man who ‘walked the talk’

Oak Bay Green Committee donates tree in Trevor William’s honour

Oak Bay’s Garry oak tree protection bylaw may not exist if it wasn’t for the late Trevor Williams.

Williams, who died in January from cancer, helped launch the Oak Bay Green Committee (OBGC) in 2005 after a copper beech tree on Bartlett Avenue, next to his home was taken down by developers. He and his wife Valerie Williams then learned Oak Bay had no tree protection bylaw, even for the beloved Garry Oak. In 2006, the Garry Oak tree protection bylaw was passed after much public debate.

“It was a hard and dreadful fight,” said Terri Hunter, who now runs the Oak Bay Green Committee with her partner, David Godfrey. “Some people did not want a tree protection bylaw.”

Williams, and the grassroots group he formed, faced opposition from many on council at the time, including developers and homeowners who felt having such a bylaw infringed on their property rights, said Hunter. Harassment and heated arguments followed, but after more than a year and some concessions made on both sides, Oak Bay’s first tree protection bylaw passed. Hunter said, while the bylaw is not perfect – it doesn’t include protection for trees on municipal property – Williams saw beyond that. The bylaw and people’s views on tree protection have evolved since.

“He had a steady eye on the goal,” said Stephanie Mann, a former member of the OBGC. “Trevor was calm, a voice of reason and a very, very nice man.”

Williams travelled  frequently for work, but was still heavily involved with community green projects, said Rene de Vos, also a former member of the OBGC.

“He was our back up,” de Vos said. “He was a quiet, supportive partner for sure and he certainly contributed a lot (including) financially.”

Williams and Valerie also launched the soft plastics recycling depot, lobbied for the anti-idling bylaw and started an environmental advocacy website, greenmuze.com.

“He was an environmentalist and he walked the talk,” Mann said. “He really did.”

The Williams eventually moved to Salt Spring Island.

He was diagnosed with terminal cancer in November 2012 and died at Royal Jubilee Hospital the following January at age 47. The day before his death, Williams received his PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of Victoria in a special ceremony held in the hospital.

On Monday afternoon (Dec. 2), a young Garry Oak tree was planted in the greenbelt between 813 and 827 Oliver Street, across from Monterey school, a few blocks from where Williams once lived. Those attending the planting remembered the impact Williams left on them and the community.

“It was quite a loss,” Mann said.

“Whenever I walk by or drive by, I will think of Trevor. It will be here forever. As long as we have tree protection.”

 

Just Posted

Pedestrian struck on Quadra Street

A pedestrian was struck by a vehicle on Quadra Street at Hulford… Continue reading

Our Place celebrates Christmas in July

Afternoon barbecue serves up turkey burgers and Santa hats under the hot sun

Affordable housing idea dead for Central Park, idea shifts to Royal Athletic Park lot

Underground parking with housing units above to be considered for existing lot

Police respond after dog left in vehicle at the movies

West Shore RCMP determined the animal was not in distress

VIDEO: Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

Justin Trudeau shuffles his front bench Wednesday to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face B.C. challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and ate blueberry pie in the Cowichan Valley

Grizzly bear jumps in river, chases B.C. kayaker

The bear got a bit too close for comfort along the Elaho River near Squamish

Island man convicted of 1999 sex assault at Fraser Valley music festival

James Allen Redden, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty of three charges

Parks Canada looks to shine light on cloudy future for historic sites

A plan is in place to produce 10-year plans designed to turn around sagging attendance figures

B.C. poet shines a bright light on struggle with homelessness

Book launch for John La Greca’s Homeless Memorial is at Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo July 21.

Former Vike returns to lead women’s rowing program

Williams rowed for UVic, Oxford and Canada

Ontario police say attack on Muslim man was motivated by hate

Two men, aged 27 and 19, have been charged with assault in the incident

Most Read