Fine to tree pruner was too low

Dear editor,

Comox residents may want to consider whether town council’s fining of Dr. Toews’ tree pruning was fair to the community.  The issue is not if Mr. Toews is a nice person, but whether Comox council’s decision met North American municipal standards. Judge for yourselves.

A short survey of similar recorded cases tells us otherwise:

• 2003 (Seattle, 3 trees) $30K (US) = $40K CDN

• 2006 ( Ajax Ontario, 100 trees) $50K. (Mayor and council wanted $535K)

• 2007 (Glendale, California, 13 trees) $347,600 (US) = $417,120 (CDN)

• 2012 (Surrey BC, 39 trees) $175K

• 2015 (Atlanta, 2 oaks) $11,400K (US) =  $14250(CDN)

• Oct. 2016 (Toronto, 40 trees)  $155K plus charges pending under the Municipal Code and Provincial Offences Act seeking $100K per tree.  (replant 200 trees).

The average fine per tree is $9,389.76. The median is $4487.18. Comox council’s $10K fine for illegal “pruning” of 22 trees, is actually only $3,800. ($6,200 is tax-deductible development expenses)  That’s either $426 or $172 per tree. This makes it the lowest recorded fine in North America.

These rates are not driven by extreme environmentalism. Toronto’s aptly-named Mayor John Tory, is a well-known Progressive Conservative, who supports responsible community standards. Toronto protects its greenways and heritage at $3,875 per tree. Laws and standards are not written to favour special interests and friends, but enforced to protect community interests.

As pointed out in local media, Dr. Toews received “a sympathetic hearing from council.” Indeed, he should have from councillors and mayor who recently wilfully destroyed national heritage at Baybrook, to favour an exclusive group, in spite of pleas from Heritage BC and the National Trust.

Institutional vandalism can only passively encourage more vandalism. This same council now persists in seeking to evade its responsibilities as community trustees, and has set the lowest community environmental tree standards in North America.

I should add: Garry oaks have a 75 per cent mortality rate. Someone who damages one tree should replant four, that is 88 trees, not the recommended eight.

This council’s acts and words only bring disrespect to the institution.

Loys Maingon

Comox

 

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

Just Posted

Local cat rescue organization hit by camera theft

“Someone is taking from an organization trying to help cats who are surviving in the wild.”

Fundraising conference, concert on deck for Comox Valley Transition Society

Women Who Inspire Conference and Concert at Filberg Centre March 1

Changes recommended for four Comox Valley schools to ease capacity

Possible measures include cross-boundary transfer closures, modular buildings

North Island College students serving up food and wine at 40 Knots

North Island College tourism and hospitality and culinary students teaming up with… Continue reading

MARS Wildlife Rescue gets help from local children

The new Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) visitor centre in Merville has… Continue reading

Pipeline dispute: Tories put no-confidence motion on House of Commons agenda

Conservatives say they have no confidence in the Trudeau government to end the rail blockades

Comox Valley Beefs & Bouquets for week of Feb. 18

More beefs to the tip-expecting server; a bouquet to BC Transit

Galchenyuk nets shootout winner as Wild edge Canucks 4-3

Vancouver tied with Calgary for second spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

Original Victoria Clipper vessel sails one last time

Vessel sold to buyers in Gabon, Central Africa

B.C.’s soda drink tax will help kids lose weight, improve health, says doctor

Dr. Tom Warshawski says studies show sugary drinks contribute to obesity

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

Two new hybrid BC Ferries ships christened with new names in Victoria ceremony

Island Aurora and Island Discovery will service Gulf Island and North Island routes

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett says they can be in Smithers Thursday

Most Read