The removal of what a forestry company in Port Alberni determined were hazardous trees has stirred up much public discussion.
San Group built a dirt berm lining their property at Stamp Avenue and Roger Street when they began building their remanufacturing plant, as a sound barrier to construction and future work on the site, said company spokesperson Amit Chandra Shekar.
The berm was built at the base of the trees, and many people complained that the dirt would be detrimental to the trees. San Group brought in gardeners to plant trees and shrubs along the berm and were plagued with thefts of the plants. Subsequent work was done to lessen the amount of dirt around the tree bases.
“The trees were there and we didn’t want to cut them down,” he said. “We knew they would die at some point. We planted four trees for every one.”
During the first week of November, San Group had at least a dozen of the mature trees removed, saying they were dying or dead and becoming a hazard.
The City of Port Alberni does not have a tree removal bylaw so no permit was required to remove the trees, a city spokesperson said. San Group took the initiative to remove the trees and all the city asked is that they used a certified arborist inspect the trees and carry out the work.
Tilleys Trucking and Excavating from Port Alberni handled the tree removal, hiring Nomad Tree Service to inspect the trees and Ace Flagging to assist with traffic control.
Chandra Shekar said Tilleys cut the trees into shorter pieces and hauled them away—they weren’t used at the remanufacturing plant. He said he’d like to see a chain saw artist come and create designs on the remaining stumps; if that doesn’t happen then the stumps will be removed.
Now that the berm is opened up while the trees planted within the past two years mature, San Group is looking at using it as a site to display public art. Port Alberni artist Michael Wright has already installed two metal sculptures, a sea turtle and a whale.