Kathy Haveman came home to her house on Aspen Street at the end of August to find the beautiful tree adorning her front lawn cut in several places.
“They butchered it,” she says.
The tree is 20 years old and was a gift from Haveman’s late mother in law.
“It’s a beautiful shade tree,” she says. “It’s in honour of my mother-in-law she had given it to me before she passed.”
Returning home to find the tree missing branches was a shock, says Haveman.
“It just broke my heart to see it cut down again. I know it’s necessary because of the power lines, but still, they could have notified me. Someone could have come to the door and notified me.”
This has not been the first time the tree has been cut away from the power lines. In the past, Haveman has hired an arborist to clean up what is left of her tree.
“I would like them to come to me and say when it is going to be time that it has to be done again; that maybe I could help in it; that if they do have a special arborist that comes that I could work with them on it so that it wouldn’t be such a disgrace to the neighbourhood and such a shock. I know it has to be trimmed, just not how they did it.”
It’s a cause that 100 Mile House Mayor Mitch Campsall has taken up with BC Hydro.
“It’s very disappointing again. We’ve had discussions with BC Hydro before and they’ve done this before and they’ve gone and they’ve butchered people’s trees,” says Campsall.
“I’m not happy with BC Hydro and I’ve been in contact with them and they understand this and hopefully we can come to some resolve for this because it seems to be happening every couple years,” he says.
He says he understands the need to cut trees away from the wires, but in this case, says it was badly done.
“It looks so terrible now you may as well cut the tree down.”
He says he is planning on meeting with BC Hydro in the future, with the landowners to see if they can find a resolution.
For BC Hydro’s part, they say the tree was planted on municipal property and has “grown to the extent that a part of the tree now straddles the property line.”
They say it was pruned on a regular cycle in 2011 and 2015 to encourage growth away from the utility lines.
“Later in 2015, a second pruning effort was made by private persons, most likely for aesthetic reasons, which removed all of our directional pruning to encourage growth away from the power lines. This caused the tree to grow aggressively into the wires in just two years resulting in the need to prune in 2017 to address the safety hazard of growth into the utility lines,” says Dave Mosure, co-ordinator for northern community relations with BC Hydro.
“In pruning this time around, the tree crew followed proper directional pruning practices to direct the tree away from the wires, but they had much less tree to work with due to the private pruning. This resulted in an increased clearance under the wires and a very large change in the look of the tree once all of the tall, skinny water-shoots were removed.”
Mosure says they’ve spoken with Haveman about the tree’s fast growth and their reasoning for cutting it the way they did.
“I know it’s the type of tree that will grow quickly. It will never die, it’s just that they butcher it in the meantime,” says Haveman.
An earlier version of this story did not include BC Hydro’s comments, as the Free Press reached out to them with limited time before their press deadline.