Archive for March 2016

Avalon Tree Whack

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Despite multiple communications to various City of Vancouver authorities on Saturday 12 March 2016, treewhackers returned to the Avalon Dairy site on Monday 14 March 2016 to make irreversible their damage to the large fir tree. In a few hours, the crew did a hit and run. The short time span and the unfinished work make the “job” look like nothing but haste and spite. Even as lumber, the old tree has been wasted.


A local area resident offered up a cellphone photo of part of the text of what appears to be a permit dated 30 November 2015:

Pursuant to the protection of trees by-law, the following work is hereby authorized:

Removal of nine trees for development, including two City trees …
Sixty-four new site trees plus 10 street trees to be planted with …
Six site trees and three City trees to be retained and protected …


The supposed permit enumerates some numbers of trees for removal and others for retention. That vague language would allow the whackers to take out any trees they feel like, since no specific trees are identified. If a traffic cop wrote you a ticket like that, do you think a traffic court would do anything but laugh and let you go? That seems to be the Vancouver approach to letting developers eradicate trees.

Here’s the telephone number that was displayed on the “permit”: 604-687-4741. So telephone the City of Vancouver and ask for specific descriptions of the “six site trees and three City trees to be retained and protected.” Two bets: (1) They can’t or won’t tell you, except maybe after a $500 FOI, if you’re lucky. (2) There will not be “six site trees and three City trees” left standing.


Be glad you are not a tree in the City of Vancouver. You have two feet. You can flee the chainsaw … provided you hear it coming.


Written by eyeonnorquay

14 March 2016 at 9:33 pm

Posted in Heritage, News, Photos

Avalon Clearer Cut

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Saturday morning, 12 March 2016, around 11:00 am. The phone rings. I hear from distressed neighbors of the Avalon Dairy development project that some “work crew” has just had a go at cutting down the huge old fir tree at the southeast corner of the site. Police have been on scene. The tree cutters have departed. I tweet out what I can on the situation right away. After lunch I go out to make an eyewitness inspection. Now it’s Saturday night. This feels like the opposite of a party.

Start with this summary photo of the scene:


The lower limbs of the tree have been whacked off and superficial slicing has been inflicted on the lower trunk. Whatever else may be the case, this does not look like a responsible or a professional approach to tree removal.

The irresponsibilities appear to have included

        Failing to justify the activity by timely posting of a permit
        Failing to inform local area residents of time and nature of anticipated work
        Failing to put in place safe-area markers (tape, pylons, etc.)
        Exposing objecting residents to physical danger (as a threat?) by continuing to cut and drop branches

Earlier tree cutting at the Avalon Dairy site was covered by Eye on Norquay on 18 December 2015 in the posting Avalon Clearcut. Review this extract from Conditions of Approval of the Form of Development (Appendix B, Page 2 of 10) in the report to Council:


At this point it is difficult to imagine that the developer and/or the City of Vancouver care to retain any of the trees that may have enhanced the developer case for heritage density bonus. This starts to look like a programmatic part of the City of Vancouver’s ongoing destruction of tree canopy in East Vancouver.

While on that theme, the heritage farmhouse building itself seem imperiled. A neighbor reports that the building survived an unsuccessful arson attempt in November 2015. Now the structure, with unnecessarily open windows, suffers exposure to weather — and perhaps provides easy access to a future arsonist. If the house happened to go up in flames, would the City of Vancouver impose any penalty on the developer? After all, the supposed heritage that generated the bonus would have gone up in smoke.

Let the following photos enable you to conduct your own site inspection. Start with this contributed photo of the large tree, as it used to be, on a much sunnier day:


Next, see mistreated house in background, with today’s tree damage in foreground.


View below is from east toward west. Notice how this site as developed will not line up with houses along the street in the distance.


View below is from west toward east. At this stage, it’s easy to imagine how much better off the neighborhood might have been if the developer had not succeeded in scamming extra density off of the old farmhouse.


View below is from northeast corner of site to the south.


Does this final photo below look like a professional approach to cutting down a big tree, or does it look like a hasty attempt to do real damage to a tree that someone has hopes of saving?


Written by eyeonnorquay

12 March 2016 at 10:13 pm

Posted in Heritage, News, Photos