A homeowner in Uplands was denied an appeal to remove a pair of mature Garry oak trees (not shown in photo) at Oak Bay council on Monday. It was the third straight Oak Bay council session where an applicant applied to remove a healthy tree(s). (Black Press File Photo)

A homeowner in Uplands was denied an appeal to remove a pair of mature Garry oak trees (not shown in photo) at Oak Bay council on Monday. It was the third straight Oak Bay council session where an applicant applied to remove a healthy tree(s). (Black Press File Photo)

Uplands homeowner the latest to lose tree removal appeal

Oak Bay denies appeal to fall healthy tree for third straight council

For the third straight Oak Bay council meeting a homeowner appealed the municipal arborist report and asked council for permission to remove a healthy tree.

This time it was Bill Ritchie at 3260 Exeter Rd. in the Uplands seeking to remove to mature Garry oaks. Ritchie had an unique case in that he and his partner built a new home on the property a few years ago and at that time, they could have removed the two Garry oaks in question. If the municipal arborist denies a tree removal application, homeowners in Oak Bay can appeal it before council.

On Sept. 30 the homeowners at 2861 Cadboro Bay Rd. were denied the removal of two large deodara pine trees. On Oct. 15 council denied the removal of a large spruce tree that stands prominent in Fireman’s Park at the back of the 1718 Monteith St.

READ MORE: Nuisance tree will remain on permiter of Fireman’s Park

READ MORE: South Oak Bay resident wins fight to remove tree

Though council did grant an appeal in June for a resident to take down a giant but healthy deodura cedrus in her yard on St. Patrick Street, council has now denied the past three tree removal applications. Monday’s request was denied in a unanimous vote. But with a light agenda (council only lasted one hour and 28 minutes on Monday), council took some time to carefully deliberate on the matter.

Mayor Kevin Murdoch questioned why the homeowners didn’t take these two Garry oaks down during construction, when they had the chance. (They since reverted to being protected by Oak Bay’s strict tree bylaw.)

“We wanted to keep them,” Ritchie said. “The trees survived blasting for construction and we were happy. But then a big oak came down, luckily no one was hurt. Another 1.5 years ago another oak came down. Why? We don’t know.”

Ritchie pointed to increased winds due to climate change as a possible reason and a threat to the two oaks.

READ MORE: Oak Bay hosts tree appreciation day at Uplands Park

READ ALSO: Oak Bay tree removal denied due to climate crisis

However, the sentiment council expressed during the past two tree removals remained the same. Council supported the staff report despite the applicant’s argument he’s planted 40-plus trees since 2014 and 16 Japanese maples.

“I’ve unfortunately not heard anything from the experts to say that the danger you’re experiencing is any different than the danger I’m experiencing,” said Coun. Eric Zhelka. “I also have a number of old Garry oaks.”

Zhelka also noted that when the John Olmstead firm laid out the Uplands plan, plotting the house lots and roads, they were extremely careful to plan around the Garry oaks.

Last week Chris Hyde-Lay, manager of Parks Services, said that while there are generally a few appeals each year to remove trees that were deemed healthy, seeing three in a row is an anomaly.

“We had 36 [tree removal] permit applications this month,” Hyde-Lay said. “Many were refusals.”

reporter@oakbaynews.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

Aerial view of the Capital Regional District’s wastewater treatment facility at McLoughlin Point. (Photo courtesy CRD)
PHOTOS: Check out Greater Victoria’s new wasterwater treatment facilities

Long-awaited project has been up and running since late 2020

Laura Campbell was one of eight people to receive the Community Living BC Widening Our World award in 2020. (Courtesy of Laura Campbell)
Victoria woman earns provincial award for work with differently abled adults

Widening our World awards recognize community, inclusivity building

Staff Sgt. Darrell Underwood and Ian Gibbs, coordinator of volunteers for the Saanich Police Department, stand in front of the new Saanich Community Safety Office at Uptown Shopping Centre. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Saanich police call on volunteers for new community safety team

Community Safety Office to open spring 2021 at Uptown Shopping Centre

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

Residents of the Cowichan Valley decorated more than 55 vehicles with anti-racist slogans for a car rally in support of Cowichan Tribes on Saturday, January 24. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Dozens join anti-racism car rally and virtual panel in Cowichan Valley

Provincial ministry and BC Green caucus issue joint statement detailing concerns

Jesse Savidant, 31, is wanted by the RCMP after failing to appear in provincial court in Nanaimo in December. Police warn Savidant should be considered violent. (Photo Submitted)
Warrant out for man accused of stolen property offences across Vancouver Island

Jesse Savidant did not appear for court date in Nanaimo last month, say RCMP

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is urging visitors to stay on designated trails after a hiker became injured in an unsanctioned area last week. (Westerly file photo)
Injured hiker rescued in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

“Safety is everyone’s responsibility.”

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

Local musician and artist Daisy Melville created a watercolour portrait of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders from the recent American inauguration, and with help from her mom, is now selling t-shirts and more with funds going to the Comox Valley Food Bank. Image submitted
Island artist turns Sanders inauguration meme into art for good

All proceeds from the sale of shirts, sweaters and more will go to the Comox Valley Food Bank

Most Read