November 07, 2014 - 10:28 AM
KELOWNA – A stand of trees in Mission Ridge Park have suddenly and inexplicably started dying and the City of Kelowna is looking at vandalism as a possible cause.
The trees, 11 ponderosa pines of varying age and height, are on city property only a few metres from a house being built on Westpoint Drive. Environment manager Todd Cashin says it looks like it may have been done deliberately – possibly to improve somebody’s view of the lake.
“Some of the trees have upwards of four holes drilled into them and it appears something has been poured into the holes,” he says. Cashin also found staining around the bases he believes could be residue from some kind of chemical.
The only explanation he says, is that somebody did it deliberately.
“All the other trees on the hillside are healthy,” he says.
Water Quality experts collected samples from the holes and soil and sent them to a testing facility in Vancouver. Cashin expects to have the results sometime in the next week.
In the meantime, the trees have been flagged off and the city has been in contact with RCMP. Cashin says those responsible face fines of $2,000 per tree as well as replacement costs.
“The Tree Protection Bylaw also requires they replant two trees for every one they damaged,” he says, adding this is the first time he’s seen something like this in Kelowna. “It could be a costly venture.”
Cashin says he’s met with one of the two owners who stood to benefit from the loss of the trees and he is cooperating with the investigation. A neighbour suspects it was done either by or at the direction of a couple from Montreal who recently bought one of the properties.
“It’s pretty obvious what’s happened,” Cashin says. “If this was done to improve somebody’s view of the lake it looks very suspicious for a couple properties.”
The city asks that anyone with any information how the trees became damaged contact the city or bylaw enforcement.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014