Trees removed from Summerland nature preserve

Trees removed from Summerland nature preserve

Council will address unauthorized removals at special meeting on Sept. 6

Trees have been removed from the Woodbridge Nature Preserve in Trout Creek, and members of the family that donated the property would like some answers.

At the Aug. 27 municipal council meeting, Kolyn Woodbridge spoke about the removed trees.

“This is not what is to be happening to a nature preserve,” she said, asking that municipal council take measures to ensure trees will not be removed from the site in the future.

Since the trees were removed, a handmade sign has been attached to a nearby tree at the preserve. The sign reads, “3 trees removed already. 10 years all will be gone. Does money talk that much?”

Woodbridge said her grandfather purchased the property in 1948.

In December, 2017, the one-hectare preserve off Nixon Road was officially dedicated.

At the time, Alison Peatt, an environmental planner involved in the project, said the site was a critical habitat for Lewis’s woodpecker and the screech owl.

The woodpecker species is declining, with fewer than 1,000 birds remaining in Canada. The birds nest in older cottonwood trees. Often, these trees rot from the inside, providing a shelter for the woodpeckers.

Screech owls prefer the same habitat.

When the preserve was created, a wood fence was set up along the road and a sign was erected, identifying it as a preservation area.

In a report to municipal council, chief administrative officer Linda Tynan said the tree removal was not authorized by the municipality.

“It appears that no permission was granted by any district staff, although the representative from the tree removal service has documentation from a contractor that stated he had received district approval,” the report states.

In addition, the municipality’s environmental planner has stated that Environment Canada has regulations in place restricting the removal of these trees.

Municipal staff are continuing to gather information about the tree removal.

The tree removal will be addressed at a special meeting of municipal council on Thursday, Sept. 6, beginning at 7 p.m.

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Trees removed from Summerland nature preserve