British Columbia

BC Hydro's savage tree-cutting surprises Tsawwassen couple

A Tsawwassen, B.C. couple wants BC Hydro to explain why the power company "savaged" their weeping willow tree, even though it wasn't interfering with any power line.
BC Hydro "savaged" the willow tree according to Patricia Gowing. ((Patricia Gowing))

A Tsawwassen, B.C., couple wants BC Hydro to explain why the power company "savaged" their weeping willow tree, even though it wasn't interfering with any power line.

Patricia Gowing told CBC News that last month a BC Hydro crew came and cut all the branches off the mature tree outside the kitchen window of their suburban home south of Vancouver, leaving just an ugly stump,

Gowing returned home one day to find the tree had been hacked to pieces without any notice, while her unsuspecting husband was inside.

"Our tree was half gone. He hadn't even heard it happening. So we both went outside, and these fellows said, 'BC Hydro's orders, because of the power line,'" she said.

The crew told them tree was too close to a so-called feeder line connected to a lamppost, she said.

"They didn't knock on the door. They didn't say we're going to do this. They just do it," she said.

A BC Hydro arborist who came out to see the damage couldn't explain why the willow had been chopped, she said.

"He was shocked and he said there was no reason they should have done that," she said.

Last summer the tree had a broad canopy. ((Patricia Gowing))

In past years, BC Hydro has trimmed a few branches on the tree to keep it away from the line, she said.

But despite the severe cutting, the arbourist said the willow would likely grow back and need trimming again in about three years time.

The Gowings have complained to BC Hydro and are waiting to hear back. But Gowing also said they are not sure if the tree is entirely on their property, and could be at least partially on municipal land.

CBC News was unable to reach BC Hydro for comment early Wednesday morning.

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