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Shoreacres’ residents concerned over chopped trees

Shoreacres residents are concerned local tree trimming operations will change the landscape and disrupt wildlife, and they had no for-warning about it.

Fortis contractors are currently in Shoreacres undertaking their tree and bush clearing program, however, there was no communication with landowners.

“The lack of community consultation or any warning that this was going to happen and just having someone show up at your doorstep informing you that they are needing to drastically change the trees on your property is alarming.” said Paula Sobie, Shorecares resident.

“Resident had the options to cut the trees down significantly or have them removed, and because of that we are losing a lot of trees in our neighbourhood.”

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Locals fear the changes are not for the better, with trees up to 30 years old being removed.

“It changes the landscape significantly and I was talking with a neighbor who had a large row of conifers right along our property line and she was mentioning to me just the countless owls and birds other critters she saw coming in and out of those particular trees, so it’s obviously you know having a significant impact in terms of visually how the neighborhood looks but presumably being a less friendly place for some of the animals.” said Paula.

Fortis says safety is their top priority, and to ensure the reliability of their electricity and gas system, tree trimming is a necessity.

“We have crews out trimming and maintaining trees and vegetation that present a hazard to our lines and to the communities we serve.” said Gary Toft, Senior Advisor Fortis BC.

“Of course, the reason we do that is the trees falling on or touching power lines can cause power outages, they can energize nearby property and they can pose a fire risk.”

“In the last few years, we lost about 100,000 hours of outages because of electricity being put out by trees falling on power lines.”

Fortis says they will notify property owners when hazardous trees need to be removed, but less often with tree trimmings due to the size and scope of the problem trees.

However, they acknowledge they can do better with letting the community what know what is going in.

“I recognize that we can improve how we notify communities.” said Gary.

“The trees are the leading cause of power outages and outages have serious consequences.”

And they are committed to keeping the local wildlife safe.

“Our crews do a sweep for a for nest any time when they’re starting work on a site.” said Gary.

“If they find a nest, they report it and they wait till the end of the nesting season to resume their work.”

Prevention is the best solution, and Fortis is encouraging all land holder to plant tree at a safe distance from powerline.

“We ask property owners to plant trees no closer than 10 meters from a power line. So that’s about the length of a school bus.”

Regulations around Tree and Powerlines

Vertically, trees and bushes are to be kept three metres away from powerlines, with all new trees recommended to be planted 10 metres away from any hanging wires.

“We do trim trees a fair distance from the power lines because we want to eliminate that risk and not have to come back later and trim again.” said Gary.

“It’s property owners’ responsibility to make sure that trees and other vegetation on their property pose no risk to neighbouring properties or the surrounding gas and electricity infrastructure.”

“We appreciate the public’s patience and understandings, we work together to keep our community safe and to keep power flowing to homes and businesses.”

“And again, we encourage everyone to plant safely so we can keep our community safe and decrease service interruptions.”

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