The City of Surrey is investigating after mysterious holes were found at the base of a mature fir tree on a vacant lot in South Surrey.
Surrey’s manager of trees Nadia Chan told Peace Arch News Wednesday that a number of concerned residents have contacted the city about the tree, which is located at the southeast corner of 172 Street and 2 Avenue.
Chan said the Douglas-fir is approximately 170cm in diameter, located on private property and there’s currently a development application in its initial review stage.
“A City arborist has visited the property and completed an initial assessment of the tree. It appears that up to 20 holes have been drilled into the tree near the root flare. The holes are approximately 5 – 8cm deep,” Chan said.
A subdivision and development permit is underway to allow a mixed-use commercial/residential site. Chan said she was not able to tell PAN the property owner’s name.
Nearby resident Matt Fournier told PAN Friday he’s confident the holes are not the work of birds or other creatures.
“I was just kind of concerned. You don’t see too many birds burrowing into the lower parts of the tree.
“I know my tools, and I know what kind of tool makes that hole,” he said.
Fournier said he reached out to PAN in an effort to raise public awareness and perhaps get to the root of the matter.
“I think it’s important that we just bring that to the public,” he said. “We don’t have too many big trees left in the city.”
Another nearby resident, who initially alerted PAN of the tree, speculated that the holes could have been used to pour poison into the root system.
Chan said that although the tree is not listed as a heritage or significant tree, it is considered a “specimen quality” tree under the tree protection bylaw.
Specimen quality trees are by definition “a tree of any size which an arborist, a landscape architect or the General Manager deems to be of exceptional value because of its species, condition, form, age or size but which has not been designated by Council to be a significant tree.”
Some residents have estimated the fir at more than 160 years old.