The City of Surrey and a South Surrey resident disagree over what constitutes as a “hazardous” tree.
Sandra Houghton, who lives on the 16500-block of 26 Avenue, emailed Peace Arch News last week, expressing her frustration over the city’s refusal to prune six cherry blossom trees in front of her home.
She wrote that the trees are interfering with garbage collection vehicles and large construction trucks.
“During heavy rain and snow the branches interfere with the safety of pedestrians using the sidewalk,” she wrote to PAN.
She explained that the city is refusing to prune the trees, but granted her permission to prune the trees with one of the city’s recommended companies at her expense.
“We do not have permission to prune these trees ourselves as they are, after all, City trees and we would be fined. We did not plant them. If the City did not, then it was their responsibility to tell the former owners or developers to remove and relocate them,” Houghton wrote.
“Why should we be responsible for their error?”
Houghton said that she suggested the city remove the trees, at their expense, “but that was not an option they would consider.”
City acting manager of parks Hugh Norris emailed PAN saying that the city disagrees with the notion that the trees are hazardous, which is based on past assessments by city staff.
Norris explained that with respect to tree pruning on city property, the city manages for risk only.
“In situations where the resident would like non-hazard related work completed, the City will issue a letter that provides the resident with permission to prune the identified trees and also provides guidance on how to prune the trees,” Norris writes.
Norris wrote that Houghton received written permission to prune the trees.
“In this situation, the only way Mrs. Houghton would be fined for pruning these trees would be if she deviated from the directions in the permission letter.”
Norris said that the six trees in question were either planted by the developer or a past owner of the property.
“In either case, the City was not notified of the original tree planting. Also, there are no other City planted boulevard trees in this particular neighbourhood,” Norris writes.