Although the person responsible for poisoning a horse chestnut tree on Beach Drive earlier this year has agreed to pay $48,350 to the District of Oak Bay, no charges have been laid by police.
“In considering charges, the police need sufficient admissible evidence to prove a specific individual committed a crime,” said Oak Bay Police Chief Const. Andy Brinton Thursday. “There are times when a civil remedy is the appropriate avenue.”
Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen said the maximum fine would have been $10,000 had the individual been fined under the district’s bylaws.
According to the District, the $48,350 fine represents the appraised value of the tree and additionally considers the resulting impact to the urban forest due to the larger size of the damaged tree.
Jensen said Tuesday this was a “very disturbing incident.”
“We took the appropriate action to resolve the matter,” he said. “The amount collected should send a strong message to everyone, that we are serious about protecting an enhancing our urban forest in Oak Bay and that there are serious consequences for this type of behaviour.”
The damaged tree was removed Tuesday by Bartlett Tree Experts.
— Oak Bay News (@OakBayNews) October 24, 2018
A replacement tree for Beach Drive will be selected based on available stock, growth potential and associated benefit to the urban tree canopy, according to the District.
The identity of the individual responsible for poisoning the tree has not been disclosed.
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