|Street planting along East Mall in Freeport|
|Sunday, 23 October 2011 11:27|
It is not difficult to visualise what the East Mall of Freeport would look like if the old Ficus trees had been retained.
Take a look at Miami, our near-neighbour, and one finds avenues like Coral Way lined with trees of the same family that add a scenic grandeur to the environment. Today the East Mall in Freeport presents an altogether different picture.
The Freeport Ficus trees were planted over 40 years ago but were never properly maintained, watered and fertilized. Nor were not properly trimmed and replaced when a vehicle collided with them. And, because they not properly trimmed, they suffered badly in the hurricanes of 2004.
Given the situation at the time a hurried decision was made to uproot them and plant spindly palm trees. Well palms are nice of course, and they have an islandy character but they don’t make much of a statement. On other hand the Ficus trees provide shade, act as wind breaks and, most important, they add unity to the streetscape. They also help camouflage the hodge-podge land usage, untidy vacant lots, and ugly buildings on the Mall and give kinetic direction to an important gateway road.
Some will argue that Ficus trees are not native to the island, but after 40 years of existence but by now should surely should have earned a resident permit!Compare the following photographs:
THE SCENE TODAY
East Mall streetscape today
WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN
What the East Mall might have looked like if the Ficus trees had been retained and cared-for