A simple request for permission to remove a dangerous tree located on Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure right-of-way has led to an ordeal for a Salt Spring woman.
Ministry staff finally approved the tree removal for Tuesday, but LePage Road resident Susan Cox feels she was ignored for many weeks and then punished for her request, as she was ordered to move a fence after the tree is felled.
“I don’t feel like I deserved three months of no conversation and when I do have conversation it’s petty and I’m left feeling I did something wrong,” Cox said. “I did not do anything wrong.”
Last fall Cox decided she needed to take down two dangerous trees that were were riddled with fist-sized woodpecker holes. When contractor Gord Lee arrived to do the work, he informed her one of the trees was actually located over her property line and that permission from the ministry would be needed. Lee trimmed the tree that did belong to Cox, but could not take it down on its own because it was holding up the other tree.
Cox said several calls to the ministry’s local agent Mainroad Contracting in November achieved no response.
With January’s storms, Cox felt the situation was getting too risky and she visited the Mainroad office in person.
“This has not been a bad winter, compared to last winter, but the tree is still just 25 feet from my house,” she said.
“In all of this, all I wanted was permission to take down one dangerous tree,” Cox said. “I feel like they threatened me after I got upset: ‘If we take down your tree you have to move your fence.’”
In response to a request for more information from the Driftwood, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said it “will continue to work with the property owner on the relocation of the fence at a reasonable time when the weather has improved this spring.”
For more on this story, see the Feb. 28, 2018 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.