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Penticton couple learns high cost of unauthorized cutting of city trees

A Penticton couple faced up a bill of almost $21,000 from the city for cutting down two mature trees in this portion of Penticton Esplanade land adjacent their property.
Image Credit: Contributed/City of Penticton
August 16, 2016 - 6:30 PM

PENTICTON - A Penticton couple planning to build their own home discovered the high cost of violating the city's tree protection bylaw.

Michael and Josie Daley cut down two trees on city property earlier this year and the city was seeking almost $21,000 in compensation for the Siberian elm and London planetree.

The couple told council at a special council meeting held Monday, Aug. 15 they thought they were being responsible when they removed the trees from city property upon which they had a License to Use Agreement with the city.

City discovered the trees were removed as part of the demolition of a house at 567 Vancouver Ave. that sat on three separately titled parcels adjacent to the Penticton Esplanade, a strip of unmaintained parkland running along the bench north of Vancouver Avenue. The trees were removed in a section of the Esplanade covered by a non-exclusive License to Use Agreement issued by the city.

The Daleys purchased the land adjacent the licensed lands in 2015, and earlier this year demolished an existing house that straddled the three lots in order to develop the land into three separate lots.

Michael Daley told council they believed the agreement with the city left them responsible for landscaping, including maintenance of the trees. He said the trees were in poor condition with one showing signs of dieback and rot and the other having its roots compromised when excavations for water and sewer were done.

Michael insisted there was no malice intended.

When asked if he was aware of the city’s tree protection bylaw, Michael replied, "No. We’ve learned a lot.”

The Daleys proposed they buy $15,000 to $20,000 worth of plants and trees to beautify the portion of land contained in the license to use agreement. 

Coun. Tarik Sayeed called the incident "an honest mistake with good intentions" and council unanimously agreed to accept the proposal for landscaping instead of cash.

- This story was updated for readability at 7:12 a.m. Aug. 17. Thanks to reader Monique Gobrecht for the suggestions.


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