City responds to Nelson residents’ anger over alley trimming

The alley behind the residence of Judy O’Leary, before and after the city trimmed it. Photo: Judy O’Leary
The alley behind the residence of Judy O’Leary, before and after the city trimmed it. Photo: Judy O’Leary

Many Nelson residents are unhappy with the pruning and trimming the City of Nelson has done recently in the city’s alleys.

On the Star’s website and Facebook page, they responded to a letter from Nelson resident Tobias Jenny published last week.

“Blackberries ready to be harvested were razed down,” Jenny wrote, “hedges brutally chopped right to the fence line, trees trimmed without any apparent thought given to their health or survival, vegetable beds razed down with a weed whacker. All this happened without any warning that we were aware of.”

Many residents agreed and criticized the city for indiscriminate pruning of flowers, shrubs, vegetables and trees.

City manager Kevin Cormack told the Star the reason for the trimming is so that garbage and hydro trucks can pass through the alleys.

“We certainly appreciate folks beautifying their properties,” he said in an email, “but it is very important that these are done on their own property as our lanes are in many cases narrow and the new vehicles are larger than they used to be and the lanes can be dangerous and put both our employees and the public at risk when they get encroached upon.”

Some commenters on the Star’s Facebook page, however, think the city is overdoing it.

• They took out a good part of my plum tree that was not in the way. – Janet Williamson

• They are just guessing where the property line is and laying waste. We had half our vegetable garden/ raspberry/strawberry patch destroyed, when only a portion of it was actually over the property line. – Kevin McClelland

• I hope there was a really, really good reason for it, and not just some tidying urge, or occasional issue with the odd property (in which case individual property owners could be notified with a sticker on their bin or uncollected trash). I think our rambling ramshackle alleys are one of Nelson’s delights. – Anna Purcell

The city’s director of public works, Colin Innes, told the Star he understands the response.

“With people being concerned about pollinators and wanting to ensure there are flowers feeding pollinators and just having more people growing gardens to improve access to food and beautify the community, I really do support all of those kinds of things. But doing them in a laneway that’s not on your property? I have a little bit more difficulty with that.”

Asked to identify the safety issues, Innes said, “A garbage truck swamper (staff) being hit with branches as they ride on the back of the truck and our equipment (including the garbage truck) striking branches as they travel down the lane. The general reduced visibility is also a concern as there can be other objects stored in the lane and we want to avoid striking any objects.”

Innes said if encroachment is allowed it will incrementally increase. He thinks the city did not communicate its plans well enough.

Notice of the trimming was on the city’s website and Facebook page, he said, but he said perhaps they should have used more old-fashioned methods such as sandwich boards.

“This would be at least another means of residents being alerted to it in advance, as opposed to finding out about it after it’s happened,” he said.

This story was altered on Aug. 18 by adding the fourth-last paragraph about safety.



bill.metcalfe@nelsonstar.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

Art as reconciliation: Ymir artist hosting BC Culture Days event

Damian John will lead a workshop titled Exploring Reconciliation Through Creativity

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

Brittny Anderson seeks Nelson-Creston NDP nomination

Anderson is currently a member of Nelson city council

Quirky Canadian comedy ‘Schitt’s Creek’ takes Emmys by storm with comedy sweep

Toronto-raised Daniel Levy and Ottawa-born Annie Murphy both got supporting actor nods

181 days gone: Family continues to look for man last seen in RCMP custody 6 months ago

Brandon Sakebow’s last known location was leaving Mission RCMP cell, police say; family has doubts

B.C. unveils new cannabis sales programs to help small, Indigenous growers

Government did not say how it will define small producers, but says nurseries will be included in the policy

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Most Read