An Oak Bay resident woke with a start early Thursday morning (July 12) to what he initially thought was a thunder and lightning storm. While it was a natural force that interrupted his slumber, its origin was the ground not the sky.
“I woke up at 2:30 in the morning hearing a crackle and saw light flashing in the window, thinking it was a rain storm, thunder storm. So I looked out the window and looked up at the sky looking for those clouds but it was just clear, no wind, and stars sparkling away,” said Ken Agar-Newman. “I look around and look down and see branches and just think ‘holy cow!’”
Two large Garry oaks on his neighbour’s property had uprooted and come crashing down. The trees had significant weight to their limbs and co-dominant trunks.
“There is a north side tree and a south side tree. One had fallen on the cable in line to the (neighbour’s) house and it was holding that side of the tree up. The other had fallen on the corner of our house and the car,” said Agar-Newman.
“With these co-dominant trees, architecturally there are better scenarios,” said Chris Hyde-Lay, manager of Oak Bay Parks Services. While the trees were on private property, Parks Services is responsible for ensuring the site is safe.
The property where the trees stood, had recently been developed with a new house build, lawn, and irrigation system.
“There are trees that have a lot better architecture than that one, let’s put it that way. Then when you throw in all the various changes on the site, it is unfortunate that it happened,” said Hyde-Lay. “We had talked to the developer and had made some recommendations about taking some end weight out of it but he had not got to that yet. It was not a great tree architecturally, but none the less it was still a good tree.”
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