A storm is brewing in a West Vancouver home and may be heading towards an ill-prepared West Vancouver council. A local home-owner has warned the district that it would be held liable if a tree deemed dangerous by the home owner but not by the district ended up damaging the property.
“We hereby put the District of West Vancouver and its decision makers on notice that we shall hold them responsible for all possible liability issues to the property and persons arising in future,” the home-owner said.
The decision by your arborist, who does not live at the house but we do, to just to re-top and remove dead wood is misguided to say the least!
The home-owners wanted to work on five trees on the property. They requested one to be cut out entirely. Following the district’s tree bylaw, the home owner hired a district-sanctioned arborist who gave detailed recommendations to the district on the pruning and cutting of the trees on the property. The district’s arborist, however, won’t allow the cutting down of one tree, which the home owners say must be cut because of safety issues for both them and the neighbours.
“The decision by your arborist, who does not live at the house but we do, to just to re-top and remove dead wood is misguided to say the least! And what is disconcerting for us is that no explanation seemed to be necessary for that decision,” the home-owner said.
The home-owners emphasised that their decision to cut the tree wasn’t prompted by a desire to have more views but by the fear that the tree may cause harm to them, the neighbours or the property. “It is too close to our and our neighbour’s house which could cause great harm to our lives and our property.”
The home-owner also questioned the process the citizens would have to follow to take down a tree. “Why do we have to hire a professional arborist—one approved by the district—to give detailed reports and recommendations to the district only to be reviewed, re-evaluated and, in our case, overturned by the district’s arborist, albeit only for one but the most important tree out of five. It’s a waste of manpower and taxpayers’ fund. We as property owner seem to paid two times, once to the consultant and then as tax payers for your arborist who did not extend us the courtesy to talk to us and therefore doesn’t have the whole picture of our intentions,” the home-
The home owner said they would now abide by the bylaw and proceed according to the district’s recommendation because they didn’t have the “nerves and energy and money it takes to fight this very undemocratic decision.”
The tree bylaw is an interim bylaw but district can anticipate more such challenges as it awaits the recommendations of a citizen group on how to create a balance between the needs of a property owner and the desire of the community in keeping a healthy urban forest. The district adopted the bylaw in July 2016 to protect trees on private land from the rapid pace of development in the community and has since appointed a 12-member citizen group to submit their recommendations to the district by the end of this year.
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