Nanaimo company faces city fine for illegally clearing trees

NANAIMO – Spokesman says Maplewood Properties plans to dispute levy.

A Nanaimo company has been slapped with a $10,000 fine for illegally removing trees, including in protected habitat.

An investigation report by the City of Nanaimo reveals that Maplewood Properties cleared trees for a new science and technology building on Kenworth Road without permits and “knowingly contrary” to city bylaws.

Maplewood applied for a development permit and aquatic setback reduction last March. Three months before it won approval, a city staff person discovered a significant portion of the site had been “cleared of trees and grubbed and left bare.” Approximately 19 trees had been on the site, including five in a protected setback area, the report says.

Under the city’s maintenance and protection of trees bylaw, in place since 1993, four trees a year can be removed without a permit on a property the size of the one on Kenworth Road and nothing can be cut down if the land is still under a development application.

The company did not have a tree removal permit or tree management plan, which would have seen a qualified professional inspect the area for nesting sites and significant trees and ensure provincial wildlife act requirements were met. Damage has been done to the habitat, but it’s minimal, according to Kevin Brydges, the city’s environmental enforcement officer, who says the most significant issue is the company removed trees without permits.

“If they had left the site alone, got their permits – which included a development permit as well as a tree removal permit – and then went in and did what they did they probably would have been fine,” he said. “By going in before they had any permits in place they are outside of the bylaw or in contravention.”

The report says the registered owner wanted to remove trees to show his client they were making progress and he believed he had permission from the city’s development approval planner to clear the site, but the city staff member denies giving the go-ahead. A municipal officer also couldn’t legalize an illegal act, the city’s investigation found.

Odai Sirri, a spokesman for Maplewood Properties, says the company disagrees with the city’s assessment and will dispute the fine, which is now a judicial matter. The trees were not old growth, but “glamorized weeds” which were being removed to make room for native, high-value species, according to Sirri.

“This was a breakdown of the communication process, pure and simple and I don’t believe we are responsible for that,” he said.

The $10,000 fine is the third issued this year under the maintenance and protection of trees bylaw. There was a $10,500 issued for 4960 Songbird Pl. and an $11,325 fine levied at 3678 Reynolds Rd.

Just Posted

The Nanaimo sign at Maffeo Sutton Park could be hazardous for children, says letter writer. (News Bulletin file photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Nanaimo sign will cause falls

Children can’t resist climbing on sign, says letter writer

John A. Read, who was inspired to leave his former career to become a professional astronomy by the purchase of a $13 telescope, will give beginning astronomers key pointers on how to set up and get the best performance from their instruments at Nanaimo Astronomy Society’s meeting June 24. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Read)
Astrophysicist will talk about getting the most out of a telescope at Nanaimo astronomy meeting

John Read’s purchase of a $13 telescope led to a degree in astrophysics and a career in astronomy

Nanaimo rapper Sirreal plays the Port Theatre on June 25. (Photo courtesy Alanna Morton)
Nanaimo rapper Sirreal and friends play the Port Theatre

Live-streamed concert the second in venue’s Discovery Series highlighting local artists

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement, stating that Nanaimo will see temperatures between five-10 degrees above seasonal the next two days. (News Bulletin file)
Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement, stating that Nanaimo will see temperatures between five-10 degrees above normal the next two days. (News Bulletin file)
Heat wave will see Nanaimo temperatures rise 5-10 degrees above normal

Sun with highs of 28 C forecast by Environment Canada for Harbour City on Sunday and Monday

According to a staff report, Regional District of Nanaimo has seen some $13.6 million in grant applications approved between Jan. 1 and May 15. (News Bulletin file)
Close to $14 million in money granted to RDN in first half of year

Successful grants include more than $4 million for transit service in Regional District of Nanaimo

Robin Dutton, left, and Peter Sinclair are taking their mountain bikes and travelling down trails in the Mount Benson area June 19 as part of a 24-hour fundraiser benefiting Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Full-day mountain bike fundraiser gives financial support for Nanaimo food bank

Event part of Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank’s Food 4 Summer campaign

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding partnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Most Read