Oak Bay tree removal denied due to climate crisis

“The vast majority of trees in Oak Bay could be considered a safety risk at some point.”

You can’t cut down your trees in a climate emergency.

Not if they’re healthy and in Oak Bay. Not even if some of the limbs have already failed.

Oak Bay councillors voted 6-2 against the appeal by Cadboro Bay Road resident Ashton Scordo to have two deodara cedar trees taken down. Scordo had a significant branch from one of the cedars fall on his back patio last year and it sparked concern he and his wife share during wind storms, especially with two new children, one three months old and the other two years.

READ MORE: Oak Bay plants new program for national tree day

READ ALSO: Oak Bay resident wins fight to remove tree

The appeal was not without precedent. As recently as June, a resident on St. Patrick Street won an appeal to remove a tall deodara cedar on their property. In that case, the appellant claimed an ongoing financial burden to clean the tree’s detritus out of the gutters and perimeter drain.

“My concern is that we’re setting a precedence here,” said Coun. Andrew Appleton. “The vast majority of trees in Oak Bay could be considered a safety risk at some point, if we work on the assumption that every tree is on a spectrum of risk.”

Coun. Cairine Green noted that council was fresh off visiting the Union of B.C. Municipalities annual general meeting, where the climate crisis was of hyper focus.

“Trees are the lungs of the planet and these are healthy and stable as best can be judged,” said Coun. Eric Zhelka. “I understand the concern. Really, we have to go with staff opinion and professional feedback.”

reporter@oakbaynews.com


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