Couple upset to find trees cut down on P.E.I. cottage property

A Calgary couple are offering a $1,000 reward for information on who cut almost 30 trees on their P.E.I. property.

Almost 30 mature trees cut down without landowners' permission

About 30 mature trees were cut down along a treeline at the rear of Gordon and Vivan Hill's property. (Gordon Hill/CBC)

A Calgary couple are offering a $1,000 reward for information on who cut trees on their P.E.I. property. 

Gordon and Vivian Hill own a piece of land at Sunset Dunes in Bell's Point, where they planned to build a summer cottage. 

Gordon Hill is from P.E.I. and spends several months of the year on the Island running a business. He discovered the cut down trees when he took a drive by the property on Nov. 4.

Thinking some of the trees may have blown down, Hill realized they had been cut as he walked closer. 

"Someone had went in there with a chainsaw and cut down the whole back of the treeline." 

'Ruined the appeal of our lot'

Vivian Hill shared photos on her Facebook account of the birch and spruce trees that were cut.

"At least 30 mature trees were chainsawed and left toppled over not only on our lot but over a designated environmental buffer zone (Cape Traverse River)," Vivian Hill wrote in a Facebook post of their property that overlooks the Northumberland Strait. 

The Hills say they are now reconsidering plans to build a cottage on the property. (Gordon Hill/Facebook)

"This has ruined the appeal of our lot and compromised the integrity of the riverbank. We are now left with a lot that we no longer want to build on and a hefty cleanup bill." 

Gordon Hill said he was outraged at what he saw. He's also baffled as to why anyone would do it.

I couldn't understand why someone would just go in there and cut trees down for no reason.— Gordon Hill

"I couldn't believe it. I couldn't understand why someone would just go in there and cut trees down for no reason." 

He said the damage has decreased the property value. "It's definitely worth less than what we paid for three years ago." 

Gordon Hill said the loss of the trees has made them reconsider building a cottage on the lot. 

"Until we know exactly what happened, we're going to hold off on those plans," he said. "We're not going to cross it out definitely, but it's out a bump in the road for us." 

RCMP investigating

Gordon Hill said he spoke to a developer in the area who said they had nothing to do with it. He then went to the RCMP and P.E.I. conservation officers. Both the East Prince RCMP detachment and the Department of Justice and Public Safety said they have ongoing investigations. 

Gordon Hill says this mature spruce tree was one of about 30 cut down on his property where he planned to build a cottage. (Gordon Hill/Facebook)

Wade MacKinnon, manager of Investigation and Enforcement with the Department of Justice and Public Safety, said conservation officers have visited the property several times, and have interviewed several people. He said they have also received a few tips from the public. 

"This, unfortunately, is not that uncommon," he said. "We have investigated these matters in the past, particularly on coastal areas, or areas where it may allow access for viewing from the road, or improve people's view."

While MacKinnon said the cut trees likely won't have a large impact on the buffer zone, it has impacted the Hills' property, as well as wildlife habitat. 

The Hills and MacKinnon hope anyone with information will come forward. MacKinnon said people can contact conservation officers directly, or make a tip through Crime Stoppers. 

With files from Stephanie Kelly