SAMAD GOPAUL, Vancouver, Canada

I was extremely shocked when I saw the pictures and read about the sad fate of the magnificent “old” trees that, for so very many years, have graced the road near Beau Vallon – especially when the Cassia fistula and the Flame Trees were in bloom. I am referring here to the article by RAFAL entitled “Sur la route de Beau-Vallon des arbres sacrifiés…”  (Forum – Le Mauricien – 16 août 2019). To me, this is doubly distressing since I grew up in Mahebourg and I know this area very well. So many passengers, including students such as myself, enjoyed the sight of those trees on our daily bus trip to and from Curepipe.

Too often, when economic development is being considered, those who want it to proceed are missing a great opportunity to reduce the environmental footprint, by finding out what are the arguments of those who oppose the project. When it involves the protection of the environment against the seriously damaging effects of the development, there should be a better way of proceeding than the “authorities” giving permission to « bulldoze » swaths of the environment without giving concerned citizens an opportunity to inform the authorities of their concerns. These citizens may have solid arguments when it comes to protecting the environment, and those arguments could be used constructively by the authorities to frame the policies and guidelines under which the development should proceed.

In the case of the mature and healthy trees of Beau Vallon the project – housing or whichever project for that matter – could have been moved back ten to twelve feet thus providing a living barrier between the built-up areas and Royal Road. Not only would this modification have saved the trees, it would also have provided (1) protection, from summer heat, of the buildings and residents , (2) road traffic noise reduction, a safe walking area for adults and children, wind speed mitigation, oxygen release and CO2  absorption, moisture storage and humidity control, for the benefit of one and all. In addition, the beauty of the foliage, (soothing to the eyes), and of the flowers in bloom would delight residents and guests, as well as people travelling along that road.

I hope the foregoing « entreaty » will convince the « authorities » that by welcoming fact-based, well-reasoned and valid constructive suggestions from concerned citizens, protection of the environment can be a cornerstone of any development, resulting in a Win-Win situation. Saving our living treasures is of immeasurable value and is a legacy we have to hand over to future generations.