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Onus on developers to ensure compliance with tree-cutting bylaw

It’s incumbent on developers to make sure whatever site preparation work they do is compliant, says Nanaimo’s mayor in the wake of the city levying its third tree removal fine this year.

The City of Nanaimo issued a $10,000 fine to Maplewood Properties after an investigation found the company cleared a site on Kenworth Road “knowingly contrary” to city bylaws.

It was the third time this year the city has taken enforcement action on a company for tree removal. The city fined Windley Contracting Ltd. $10,500 for removing 20 trees from a watercourse leave strip on Songbird Place and encroaching into the watercourse setback, while Carlo Construction Ltd. was fined $11,325 for the unauthorized removal of trees on Reynolds Road and starting work on city streets without a permit.

All of the companies have claimed communication issues with city staff, according to city manager Ted Swabey, who said it’s something of which they are conscious.

The municipality ultimately holds property owners responsible for ensuring work is compliant with city requirements, although it also reports the majority of development in the area moves ahead with necessary approvals and permits in place.

“Before anyone starts removing trees, they must realize there is the potential for contravening bylaws,” Ruttan said. “So I encourage developers and builders when they are involved in site preparation that they take the time to assess what work will be done and if it requires the removal of existing trees, that somebody review the bylaws and make sure they are in conformance before they go ahead and take the trees down.”

Maplewood Properties plans to dispute its fine.

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