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City’s Attempt to Plant Trees Runs Afoul of Local Mother Who Thinks Trees Cause Crime

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Some friendly, hardworking government employees in Brentwood, Canada,–whom I will be picturing as the cast of Parks and Recreation for the rest of this story–were just trying to do something nice and plant some pretty new trees in a local park, and now they’re getting angry phone calls from local residents who think that trees cause crime. This sounds exactly like something that would happen to Leslie Knope, and I’m just going to pretend that I’ve discovered a brand new and previously unaired episode of Parks to watch.

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According to CBC, the city of Brentwood wanted to plant 15 new trees in a small, quiet, unnamed local park. They thought trees are nice, and it would make the park more forest-like and a more fun place to play. Trees are also good for the environment! Who doesn’t like trees?

Ellen Burgess doesn’t like trees.

Since the trees started going in the ground, Burgess has been going door-to-door urging her neighbors to join her protest against the trees, because she says the trees will cause more crime.

“If you give people more places to hide, more naughty things will be done,” she said.

I pity the residents of Brentwood. Most of us just have to worry about Jehova’s Witnesses and door-to-door salespeople. Brentwood residents have to worry about Ellen Burgess coming by to complain to them about trees.

Burgess says she’s worried about “urban campers” and thinks that if there are more trees, more people will pee on them. (The logic eludes me. If a person wants to urinate on a tree, they will just use the nearest tree. Nobody has ever thought, “Well, if there were two trees here I would just hold it. But there are three trees here, so I guess I’d better pee on one of them.”)

CBC reports that some residents were yelling and swearing at the crews who just showed up to plant some trees one day. Go ahead, guys, yell at the people planting the trees. Clearly they’re the ones who are setting your neighborhood’s tree policy.

Community association member Andria Dawson says the tree news was totally run by the neighborhood association months ago, and all the people complaining just weren’t paying attention until the trees started going in the ground. She lives in the area and likes the trees, because her small children like to play around them.

Unfortunately, it looks like the tree-haters have one a small victory, because only eight of the 15 trees were planted before the city caved to the complainers and cut short the tree-planting project.