Avalon Clearer Cut
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?