A commemorative plaque is missing from a heritage tree on 184th Street in Cloverdale and one local advocate wants it replaced.
“For several years, there has been a bronze plaque telling the history of a heritage tree,” said Roger Bose, past president of the Surrey Historical Society and local heritage advocate. “This is a Scotch elm, which is quite unique, and it’s probably about 100 years old, or more.”
The elm tree, near the corner of 184th Street and 54th Avenue, is quite tall and leans over 184th Street.
“Unfortunately, all that is left of the plaque are the four holes in the marker stone that the plaque was mounted to.”
Bose said he feels it’s important that plaques, like the one that’s missing, are preserved and maintained as a way to protect local heritage.
“When thieves come along and undo the work that we have done, it makes my blood boil,” said Bose. “It’s unbelievable.”
Bose thinks opportunists saw more value in the plaque as scrap metal than its value as something to “recognize history” in Cloverdale.
“We have to get heritage services to maintain these heritage markers,” said Cloverdale resident Jim Foulkes. “It’s a very rare tree because all of the elms got Dutch elm disease and they are basically extinct in their original habitat. But because these trees were imported to British Columbia—and the virus hasn’t reached this far because it hasn’t been able to pass over the Rockies—it’s important to identify, protect, and preserve this part of our heritage.”
Mikey Boylan moved into a heritage house adjacent to the tree about a year ago.
“I’ve never seen it,” Boylan said of the missing plaque. “I didn’t notice it was gone, as I didn’t know a plaque was supposed to be on the (marker stone). But I’d be excited to see it replaced, 100 per cent.”
Bose wants the City to replace the plaque as soon as possible.
“I phoned Ryan Gallagher at Surrey Heritage and he said he didn’t know it was missing,” added Bose. “They’re not doing their due diligence.”