Concord Pacific's clearcut 'an outrage'

Concord Pacific's clearcut 'an outrage'

Developer didn't get permit until after 15 to 18 cottonwoods taken down

By Frank LubaDecember 4, 2008

Residents near False Creek are fuming after 15 to 18 cottonwood trees were cut down by developer Concord Pacific.

"It's just an outrage," said Melanie Ellery. "Everybody is stopping and they're just flabbergasted."

And, she noted, Concord didn't get a permit until after chopping down the trees on Friday.

Permits are required before removing trees with a diameter greater than 20 centimetres, and several of the trees were that size or larger.

Concord didn't receive its permits until Monday.

"We just felt it was like a rape of the seawall for no good reason," said Ellery.

Concord spokesman Grant Murray said he paid $1,771 for permits to cut down 12 trees - after the trees had been cut.

"I didn't believe we needed a permit," Murray said.

The trees had to come down because of construction, he said, and Concord will plant replacement trees when it landscapes the site.

Bill Boons, Vancouver's assistant director of development services, said the permits were granted to Concord in order to guarantee there would be replacement plantings.

The private-property tree bylaw doesn't include fines. Legal action would be required to get damages.

A report is being forwarded to the city's legal department.

"We're certainly concerned about a major developer not taking out a permit in advance of doing the work," said Boons.

One of Vancouver's most infamous cases of tree trauma involved interior designer June Matheson, whose clients included movie stars and rock celebrities.

Matheson was given an absolute discharge in 2006, despite admitting to having hired an acquaintance in 2004 to poison two plane trees and an oak in the West End that blocked her Beach Avenue view.

Matheson paid $29,826 in replacement costs and gave a $20,000 donation to the parks board.

Socialite Jacqui Cohen gave the Greater Vancouver Regional District $50,000 in 2003 and apologized after 35 Pacific Spirit Park trees were cut down in front of her family's Marine Drive mansion in 1997.

But Cohen, president and CEO of Army & Navy Department Stores, insisted she didn't order or know about the tree removal.

fluba@theprovince.com

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