An Oak Bay homeowner was faced with a difficult decision after three Giant Sequoias, which had been planted in their yard 100 years ago, started to threaten the stability of their home.
Giant Sequoias are one of the largest living organisms on Earth and grow at a rapid rate. The trees prepare themselves to be massive early in life by growing a huge buttress and they will easily live to 1000 years old, meaning these Oak Bay giants were babies and set to expand.
The homeowners, who live on a small city lot, realized by 2015 that the large root system was resulting in the house being lifted, with the structure to be significantly compromised if nothing was done. They knew they were in a predicament in which a choice had to be made – house or trees.
“There is no avenue for remediation here. You can’t remediate what was going on,” said Chris Hyde-Lay, manager of Parks Services for Oak Bay and the one who issued the permit for the tree removal. “While Sequoias are great park trees, this kind of tree on a small city lot is the worst you can have. It is the wrong tree in wrong spot.”
Hyde-Lay likened it to raising a whale in a swimming pool.
The homeowners were extremely reluctant but in the end understood that there was no alternative. Cutting back the root systems would compromise the trees, creating a liability, which the municipality could not approve.
The trees will move on to a new iteration as the wood heads to Sooke to be made into furniture.
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