Ageing elm and ash trees in front of city hall were sawed off in April 2018, but their remains were not wasted.
Since their removal, which made way for the new condo development still under construction along George Street, they were given to local craftsmen to create artwork, furniture, and other items to be given to non-profits and charities as a way to help struggling communities.
The Prince George Wood Turners Guild was one of the recipients and decided to hand-craft several pieces of artwork, including bowls, vases, and pens now being donated to the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation.
“[The Wood Turners Guild] have been around for a long time,” said Spirit of the North CEO Judy Neiser this morning (Aug. 15), “and, from what I understand, it’s mostly made up of men that have been retired out of the forest industry or have a real eye for wood. I’ve seen a lot of their work over the years and it’s just really nice, as a charity, to receive these bowls and turn that back into doing something really great for healthcare.”
When the craftsmen were given the trees, the agreement was they could keep some of the wood for themselves, but they also had to turn it into something that can be useful by organizations in the northern capital.
“We are very thankful that the city provided us with these materials,” Bob Lasure of the Prince George Wood Turners Guild said in a statement. “The wood from these trees is beautiful and full of character so it provided a great experience to work with it while helping a very worthwhile cause.”
According to Neiser, similar pieces of artwork in past auctions have gone for $100 or more.
When the new ones go live at future auctions and events, the funds raised will go towards diagnostic and treatment equipment at the Unversity Hospital of Northern B.C. (UHNBC).
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and people are very generous,” she added. “They realize it's going to a good cause and it’s really about the generosity of them turning something that they give back to a charity that makes it so special [...] People can now have a treasure from city hall because trees like that don’t grow overnight.”
Spruce trees were also removed from city hall last spring but were given new life by being replanted in Duchess Park.