Century old tree falls in Oak Bay taking power down with it

‘It fell right down the lane in between our two neighbours’ houses’

Jon Swoveland told his teen-aged son not to worry, the tree had seen plenty of windstorms before.

The Grand Fir in the Swoveland’s yard had been there for at least 100 years. When the wind picked up his son would worry about it. It stood close to his window.

“The wind wouldn’t be blowing it towards our house,” Swoveland told his son. “That’s what I said to him, and of course that’s the night it came down.”

The tree is still in the Swoveland’s yard, but it’s not what it used to be. During the windstorm on the night of Dec. 15, the tree fell.

“It was around 11 p.m, when we went but Oak Bay firefighters were already on scene, as was a B.C. Hydro contractor. It took out one of the power poles, so that’s why most of south Oak Bay was without power for 12 hours.”

READ MORE: 100,000 without power due to B.C. wind storm

No one was hurt, although there was some minor damage. Swoveland had spent the last couple years building a wooden fence. When the tree fell, portions of the fence were pulled up and out by the tree’s roots.

“It couldn’t have fallen in a better orientation honestly, it fell right down the lane in between our two neighbours’s houses,” Swoveland said. “It was apparently a healthy tree, just the winds were clocked at around 120 km/h.”

Although the tree was healthy, it couldn’t be salvaged. People have already taken bits of it for firewood, although the bulk of the tree still lays in the Swoveland’s yard. It’s been decorated with Christmas lights as it waits to be removed.

***This story was edited Dec. 21. The tree in the story was incorrectly listed as an Oak, when it was a Grand Fir.


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