To the Editor:
I am writing in response to the online post published on Saturday, July 11, regarding the trees that were removed on Campbell Avenue.
The Manitoba Maple trees on Campbell Avenue behind the Canada Post and Parks Canada offices needed to be removed as they posed a safety risk to the public. This was a priority site as this is a busy area with lots of pedestrians walking by, and the tips of the trees were in contact with our power lines. If anything makes contact with an energized line, such as a tree, or if a broken power line falls to the ground or lands on a vehicle or fence, electricity can flow to the ground and spread out in irregular concentric circles. This electricity can electrocute people walking by and possibly ignite a fire.
While many trees near power lines can be pruned, Manitoba Maples are not suitable to be planted directly under power lines as they are fast growing trees that require frequent maintenance. The removal of the trees and mitigation measures were discussed and agreed to by the property managers.
There are two very important reasons why BC Hydro conducts pruning and removes trees: public safety, and to ensure reliable electrical service for our customers. When trees or tree branches come into contact with a power line, the result can be outages and safety hazards. Trees cause more than half of BC Hydro’s power outages, so we regularly prune or remove trees and other vegetation that could damage or contact our equipment.
BC Hydro’s Vegetation Management team regularly inspects trees and other tall vegetation growing under or adjacent to transmission and distribution power lines to identify potential problems. Our hazard tree programs help us prevent trees and branches from falling on our transmission and distribution power lines. We identify and – when necessary – remove hazardous trees that grow along BC Hydro rights of way and corridors.
Not all trees need to be removed. Many hazards can be dealt with by removing problematic branches. Healthy trees, shrubs, and other plants that are not hazardous are not removed, as long as the hazard tree can be removed safely. The volume of work depends on the proximity of the trees to the power lines, the size of the trees, and growth rates. Regular work includes pruning, slashing, tree removals and hazard tree removals. These standards are applied consistently in all communities.
Thank you for the opportunity to address this issue.
Mary Anne Coules
BC Hydro Community Relations