KELOWNA — Telus says it has the right to protect its equipment and workers while the City of Kelowna says it appears the work was excessive.
The telecommunications giant is under scrutiny after conducting a major pruning job in a Kelowna neighbourhood – a job some residents complain has damaged their trees.
“These trees are on our property and they shouldn’t be touched,” says Hobson Road resident Lisa Lamb.
The result is a large hole where Lisa and Dale Lamb’s 60 year old maple trees used to be.
They say a courtesy call from Telus would have been a good start.
“You could have rung our door bell and the neighbours as well and let us know that they’d be working in the area. The fact is that they’ve taken very little consideration to trees that are 60 years old,” says Dale Lamb.
Telus says the work was done for safety reasons. It says the branches that were removed are in a public right-of-way utilities easement and the company has every right to protect its equipment and workers.
“A tree arborist contractor went in on Friday and removed some branches that were creating a hazard around a cable. They removed as little material as possible,” says Telus spokesman Shawn Hall.
Telus says it wants to be good neighbours but the City of Kelowna says the pruning work was done without its knowledge and the work looks to be excessive.
“We’re not sure if it was necessary,” says Blair Stewart of the Parks Department.
Telus says it doesn’t need the city’s permission when doing pruning work in a public easement. But the city says it has a right to know what’s happening in its backyard.
“We want to make sure when these things happen they’re communicating with us,” says Stewart.
The Lambs say they’re in touch with Telus but say the damage has been done.
“We do pay the highest tax base in the City of Kelowna here. For what we’re receiving here is really a slap in the face.”