City of Nelson public works manager Karen MacDonald stands by the hacked flowering crabapple tree on Hall Mines Road.

Nelson residents asked not to hack trees on public property

The City of Nelson’s public works department is concerned about unauthorized tree pruning on public property.

The City of Nelson’s public works department is concerned about unauthorized tree pruning on public property.

In the past month, city crews have had to deal with badly damaged boulevard trees that were victim to adjacent homeowners saws. In both cases those responsible did not follow the proper procedures.

“Homeowners need to realize that the trees in front of their houses on a boulevard don’t belong to them, they belong to the citizens of Nelson,” public works manager Karen MacDonald told the Star. “There are strict rules to follow when it comes to these trees.”

In late-April, a homeowner on Hall Mines Road butchered a 25-year-old flowering crabapple tree to the point of no return. City crews discovered it the next day.

“It was hacked pretty good and it will not survive,” said MacDonald.

“We need to educate the citizens of Nelson more to this fact. I am sure the homeowner doesn’t even realize what they have done to this tree.”

If the public has issue with a tree on city property they must call the public works department. If the homeowner wants the tree altered in any way, city staff will come and take a look at the problem. If the complaint is reasonable, MacDonald said they will get on a list and city crews will take care of the issue. If there is an urgency and the homeowner is willing, a qualified arborist can be used at the cost of the homeowner.

The City of Nelson has a municipal tree bylaw and other policies regarding trees on public property. All tree removal and planting are part of the city’s tree master plan which has been hammered out over the last few years.

Those who damage or alter trees without permission from the city can be subject to a $2,000 fine under the bylaw. MacDonald wouldn’t say whether those who damaged trees this spring would be fined.

The bottom line for City crews is that homeowners call before they cut.

“We can’t have this happening all over town… can you imagine?” MacDonald said of the two severely damaged trees her team has dealt with in the last few weeks.

You can contact the City of Nelson public works by phone at 250-352-8238.

To view the City’s tree management plan click here.


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