White Rock tree-poisoning confirmed

A chemical analysis has confirmed a tree was poisoned on one of the lots of the Bishop Hill development.  - Tracy Holmes photo
A chemical analysis has confirmed a tree was poisoned on one of the lots of the Bishop Hill development.
— image credit: Tracy Holmes photo

Chemical analysis of a tree on private property in west White Rock has confirmed it was poisoned.

City manager Dan Bottrill said Friday that legal steps are among options being considered after test results on the 50-foot conifer – located on under-development property in the 1500-block of Bishop Road – indicated the presence of hydrocarbons.

“We’re evaluating now that we know… that we do have an issue,” Bottrill said.

Confirmation of hydrocarbons means there was gasoline or a diesel-type product found in the tree, he said, however, exactly what it means to the tree’s future is unclear.

“We don’t have any information with respect to the quantity, so at this point, the implications to the tree are unknown.”

The tests were done after the city received a complaint on Nov. 26 from neighbours who said they had witnessed a deliberate effort to poison the tree.

Area resident Geoff Parkin told Peace Arch News at the time that video captured a man climbing the tree, drilling holes into its trunk and pouring liquid from a jerry can into the holes.

The property has been the subject of controversy for some time, with some of the issues raised a result of city error. Mayor Wayne Baldwin had apologized in October for mistakes in how the project was handled, describing it as “not one of our finer moments.”

Bottrill said Friday it remains unclear who is responsible for the chemical attack on the tree, which is in the city’s tree-protection area and was not the subject of any application to the city.

He did not know if the tree would have to be cut down as a result of the damage, but did say that step would not be taken lightly.

“We would never cut down a tree unless we needed to cut down a tree,” he said.

“One of the things that the city takes seriously is our trees.”

Proponents of the Bishop Hill development could not be reached by PAN press deadline Monday afternoon


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