Neighborhood tree lives to fight another day

Saanich's patience coming to and end; Cadboro Bay residents threaten legal injunction against cutting down a Douglas fir

John Oberg enjoyed his morning tea from a new locale Tuesday morning: on the boulevard along Cadboro Bay Road, where he pulled up a lawn chair and sat beneath a towering Douglas fir tree slated for removal.

Oberg set up shop with a friend beneath the canopy of the ancient but ailing tree on Cadboro Bay Road near Arbutus Road, and within 15 minutes, a the tree removal company hired by Saanich to fall the tree had joined them.

Next came a small group of concerned residents who’d like to see more testing done before the tree is taken down. Representatives from the municipality’s parks department, and two police officers called in to keep the peace.

“We’re not radicals,” Oberg said. “We’re senior citizens. … We’re just a bunch of seniors that love our neighbourhood and don’t want people destroying it.”

The handful of residents refused to leave the base of the tree and their protest has worked, for now. Saanich’s plan to remove the tree is postponed once more – at least temporarily.

“Obviously it’s not safe to remove the tree if folks are in the way,” said Rae Roer, manager of Saanich parks. “The original reason to remove the tree is about safety, so we’re not going to put people at risk by trying to remove the tree, when they’re unwilling to get out from the hazard zone underneath the tree.”

The tree has fallen victim to a rot-causing fungus, phaeolus schweinitzii, and the Saanich parks department had deemed that it should be removed, given its size and location in an area prone to high winds. The group of invested locals, to which Oberg belongs, hired their own arborist to conduct an independent review of the health of the tree after Saanich’s initial discovery of the fungus in the spring.

That process yielded the same conclusion as Saanich’s testing. By the end of August, Saanich agreed to a third review of the health of the tree and imposed a deadline of Oct. 5 to receive any additional information residents found, before the scheduled removal during this week, Roer said.

“We’ve been trying to be patient to see what that information is, but there’s been no real hard and fast information that has changed our opinion,” Roer added. “Winter storms are approaching and that tree presents a risk we have to address. We’ve been very patient and attempted to be open and transparent from the beginning.”

Residents have the assistance of a lawyer who lives in the neighbourhood, Oberg said, noting that an injunction against Saanich is in the works. Roer confirmed the department had received some correspondence, but no official legal action had been made by press time.

“Where the factual trail goes, we will live with. But we are confident, we know now, that the trail still needs some development,” Oberg said.

nnorth@saanichnews.com

 

Just Posted

Double lung transplant gives West Shore man second chance

Co-owner of West Shore Barber Shop grateful for every minute of the 16 years transplant has provided

Hallmark movie filming in Oak Bay

Shooting for ‘Sunshine’ continues into June across Greater Victoria

City says traffic pattern on Bay Street Bridge will stay as is until October

Commuters began facing long waits on Tuesday morning after the east-bound lane was closed

Home where Proctor murder took place removed from Langford’s Affordable Housing Program

Langford woman almost purchased home, decided against it after hearing history

PHOTOS: Victoria youth continue to gather for climate action

Local students participated in a global movement calling for climate action

VIDEO: 76th annual Swiftsure sets sail Saturday

Longstanding competition takes off from Victoria’s Inner Harbour May 25

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve investigating after sea lion found shot in the head

Animal is believed to have been killed somewhere between Ucluelet and Tofino

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. port workers set to strike on Monday in Vancouver

A strike at two container terminals would affect Canadian trade to Asia

Volunteers already rescuing fry from drying creekbeds around Cowichan Lake

It’s early but already salmon fry are being left high and dry

So, they found ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’

Dave Tryon, now 72 and living in North Delta, will reunite with long-ago travelling friends in Monterrey, Calif.

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

Most Read