WATCH: A massive maple tree in Duncan is still standing, days after the Cowichan Valley Regional District was supposed to cut it down. Monica Martinez reports.
Work continues outside the Island Savings Centre in Duncan, but the tree that was supposed to be cut down on Friday is still standing.
“This tree is worth saving. It’s worth being here, this is not a show,” said North Cowichan Councillor Joyce Benson.
For the past few days, people have been staying with the tree around the clock, making it unsafe for the Cowichan Valley Regional District to cut it down.
“It’s important, it’s significant and has no way of being protected under current lack of laws,” she said.
And that’s part of the issue, neither the municipality of North Cowichan nor district have bylaws protecting trees which aren’t near water.
The regulations vary between municipalities.
In Oak Bay, all public trees are protected as are ones over 60 centimetres in diametre and special or significant species.
“A tree can be cut down if it is under 60 cm on private property and if it is outside the building footprint,” said Oak Bay Parks Manager Chris Hyde-Lay.
It’s much the same in Victoria. Certain species and sizes of trees are protected. A tree can be removed if it’s dead, dying or hazardous.
In Colwood though, there is no tree bylaw in place.
A development permit is required in an environmentally sensitive area, otherwise, there are no restrictions for cutting down trees.
Hyde-Lay said the first thing they would do is a structural assessment to determine if the tree is safe to stand.
“If the tree has extensive amount of decay in the trunk, you would know hey can we keep it can we not,” he said.
Two arborists have looked at the bigleaf maple. In the one public report, the arborist said the overall tree health is quite good but the trunk has long been decayed.
The arborist doesn’t feel whole trunk failure is likely within the next few years, but there is some degree of risk to road and car park users.
The Cowichan Valley Regional District said they are considering legal action to recover the costs of the delay.
The plan is to still cut down the tree but they won’t say when that will happen.