Crews contracted by Saanich chopped down a resident’s raspberry bush without warning. (Elenaiks/Pixabay

Saanich couple devastated after raspberry bush on private property cut down by District contractors

‘I felt physically kicked in the stomach,’ says the resident

It was a coincidence that Saanich resident Julius Spindler happened to be home on the morning of Oct. 4. He’d been at an appointment and stopped at home for a coffee before heading to work.

His wife, Pam Delaney, was shocked when he called to tell her that two young men were on their property chopping down her precious raspberry bush.

Spindler’s next call was to the police.

It turned out that the workers had been contracted by Saanich to eradicate invasive species, specifically Japanese knotweed. They had an aerial view map of the neighbourhood and pointed to a yellow dot on the map that corresponded to Delaney’s bush.

The young workers said that they’d been directed to cut down that specific bush, said Delaney.

There had been no notice that the crews were coming by. She feels the crew members are victims too as the map they had was outdated and the information they were given was wrong – her raspberry bush was not an invasive species to be eradicated.

READ ALSO: Saanich jam stand owner feels harassed, seeks legal advice

The bush was a gift from her 93-year-old aunt who had dug up the plants and given them away when she moved from her home to a condo. She would check in to make sure her plants were being taken care of.

This year, the harvest was “incredible” and Delaney had picked berries up to two days before the bush was cut down on Oct. 4 – her aunt’s birthday.

In 2014, Delaney, who does volunteer restoration at Swan Creek, signed up for the District’s Invasive Species Management program and crews came to eradicate the Japanese knotweed in her yard in 2015.

The plants can’t just be chopped down because they’ll grow back thicker, she explained. The crews used herbicides in her yard to get rid of the knotweed. Delaney has monitored the situation but none have grown back. She also noted that the District checked in on the situation in 2018.

Delaney feels that signing up for the program put her on the District’s radar.

Police came by on Oct. 4 after Spindler called and took down everyone’s names but no charges were laid. Sgt. Julie Fast of the Saanich Police explained that the situation was not a trespassing incident and was a result of miscommunication.

Delaney left messages for Mayor Fred Haynes and the Parks Department after the incident, but hasn’t heard from anyone in a leadership position. She wants action and restitution in the form of compensation.

In a written statement, the District of Saanich indicated that the incident is being taken seriously and that the invasive species management model is being reviewed.

READ ALSO: Local grocery store steps up to help resident after Saanich jams her stand

“Saanich has sincerely apologized for the loss of the prized raspberries and will be following up with the land owner to discuss next steps,” said a District spokesperson.

The spokesperson noted that Saanich is dedicated to removing invasive species and that the contractors were trying to help with that.

“Despite efforts to properly plan for this work within our normal processes, an error occurred.”

Delaney noted that excuses don’t make up for what happened.

“This was a big mistake, I felt physically kicked in the stomach.”

She hopes the District makes an effort to make amends.


@devonscarlett
devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘We need to do better:’ VicPD responds to more parties, gatherings

Chief pleads with public to ‘think of the greater good’

What Victoria residents are looking to buy while social distancing

New search terms pop up on the Used.ca the top 100 list

Sooke businesses cope with closures in midst of COVID-19

Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce helping local business deal with pandemic

COVID-19: Coping with isolation, stress and anxiety

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health shares useful information on coping with pandemic

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

COVID-19: A message from the publisher

We will be making some changes to our print editions during these unprecedented times

LifeLabs reducing public hours as it assists with COVID-19 testing

Coronavirus tests not done at B.C. patient centres, referrals only

24,000 Canadian Forces members ready for COVID-19 response: Defence Minister

No direct requests made by premiers yet, national defence minister says

IN DEPTH: How B.C. emptied its hospitals to prepare for COVID-19

Thousands of beds have been freed up, but patients and seniors have had to sacrifice

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Crucial details of Ottawa’s proposed wage subsidy program expected today

The government has rolled out a bailout package totalling more than $200 billion

Most Read