I read with alarm Keri Coles’ article on this “suspected” poisoning of the boulevard Horse Chestnut tree on Beach Drive. I have seen this once magnificent public tree as well as the series of plugged drill holes at the trunk base, subtle but visible. As a certified arborist, formally Oak Bay’s Qualified Landscape and Tree Appraiser, I suggest this tree is in the intentional death category.
I hope the investigation is thorough enough to charge and convict those responsible and the penalty fits the crime. A tree of this size, location and species fetches a high appraised value. The loss, cost of removal, replacement and years of watering and training to establish the new tree can run into the 10’s of thousands of dollars.
What are the motives for killing trees? Some include shade, view, leaf and fruit litter. These are annoyances to many of our residents. Some even request heavy pruning or removal to remedy the annoyance. The clear majority do not break the law and harm public or by-law protected trees when they don’t get their way. Thank goodness they don’t. If the majority of residents took the law into their hands and decided to kill most of our 10,000 +/- boulevard trees, our community would be a drastically different and devalued.
Please proceed carefully Oak Bay. Investigate and prosecute this case to the fullest and recover the full value of this tree and costs associated with replacing it. We must deter bad behavior.
You might even include fines associated with the unauthorized use of a controlled pesticide on public land exposing people and their children and pets to potential hazard.
A message to other tree haters: If you can’t stand the trees, get out of the Urban Forest. Don’t ruin it for the rest of us.