Nanaimo man found guilty of ordering old growth tree be cut down

Nanaimo man found guilty of ordering old growth tree be cut down

WATCH: A Nanaimo man has been found guilty of cutting down a massive and protected tree on his property. He authorized a contractor to cut it down in January of 2017 even though the city says he didn’t have permission to do so. As Kendall Hanson reports, he may be facing a hefty penalty.

Construction of a second home on a Jingle Pot Road property is nearly done.

The property owner is building it for his son and his family but he had a problem with one very special tree that he chose to cut down in January 2017.

“There was a house being built directly under the tree and I was concerned about the safety of my family,” said Mladen Zuvich, the property owner.

That decision had landed him in legal trouble

City staff called the old Douglas fir he cleared a one in 10,000 tree.

“It’s for one tree but it’s no ordinary tree,” said Troy DeSouza, the City of Nanaimo’s lawyer. “It’s a significantly large protected landmarked Douglas Fir tree. The court indicated it was 140 to 160 years old.”

Mladen Zuvich got a permit to cut down some trees on his property in early 2017.

City staff told him two Douglas firs on the property should stay but that he could get a second opinion which he did.

“The arborist came to the property and said I don’t think there’s a problem with the tree and then he went back to get his equipment to do the precise measurements and test,” said DeSouza. “And as he went back to his car to get that equipment Mr. Zuvich ordered the tree be cut down.”

Zuvich chose to ignore the city’s warning and the second opinion when he gave the order.

He stands by his decision.

“I don’t believe I did anything wrong,” said Zuvich. “I got a permit to remove the trees and that’s all I can say and I believe what I did was lawful.”

Provincial Court Judge Ronald Lamperson disagreed and found Zuvich guilty of two counts of violating a city bylaw.

Zuvich will be sentenced in December and faces a maximum fine of $20,000.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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