Despite a homeowner’s plea that a tall spruce tree is damaging their fence, shed and neighbour’s garden, council denied an appeal for its removal. It will continue to overlook the outfield fence of the southernmost baseball diamond at Fireman’s Park. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Nuisance tree will remain on perimeter of Fireman’s Park

Council re-affirm pledge to protecting healthy tree canopy

For the second straight Oak Bay council session a homeowner’s appeal to remove a healthy tree was denied.

On Tuesday night Oak Bay council affirmed their recent stance and denied a homeowner’s appeal to remove a large spruce tree – with a diametre of 94 centimeters – on the southwest corner of the lot at 1718 Monteith St. Council similarly denied the removal of a healthy tree on Sept. 30.

The double-trunked spruce overlooks the southernmost baseball diamond at Fireman’s Park.

READ MORE: Oak Bay tree removal denied due to climate crisis

An original permit to remove the tree was denied by Parks Services in the summer. However, the resident exercised his right to appeal the removal request before council.

Manager of Parks Services, Chris Hyde-Lay, admitted the tree “could fall in to the category of, ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.’” He otherwise concluded the tree is healthy, that it is protected by the tree bylaw, and does not meet the criteria for a removal permit.

The homeowner cited the tree had been previously topped and is growing in an unnatural way, leaning on the shed, dropping corrosive sap and needles and is impeding growth of other trees and plants in his yard and the neighbour’s. Council was unconvinced, however, deferring to the District’s pledge to retain existing tree canopy, whenever possible.

READ MORE: Resient fined $48,350 for poisoning large Oak Bay tree

“It’s not ideal for a conifer to grow this way but many do and many are happy this way,” Hyde-Lay said.

As for the financial threat of the tree further damaging the shed, Hyde-Lay noted the shed could be moved or have its foundation modified to accommodate the tree.

Coun. Andrew Appleton motioned to deny the tree removal and it was seconded. Coun. Cairine Greene said she is loathe to take down a tree during climate change and on that note, the applicant quickly vacated council chambers.

Council voted unanimous to deny the appeal.

READ ALSO: Oak Bay takes big step towards heritage conservation area

reporter@oakbaynews.com


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