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Kelowna to look into FortisBC tree-trimming practices

Click to play video: 'Residents upset with Fortis over tree trimming'
Residents upset with Fortis over tree trimming
WATCH: There are calls for Fortis BC to re-think its tree-trimming practices. According to some Kelowna residents, the power company lacks proper community engagement and puts little to no thought when pruning trees growing into or close to powerlines. And as Klaudia Van Emmerik reports, they are calling on Fortis to do better. – May 13, 2024

The City of Kelowna says it’s now looking into Fortis BC’s tree trimming practices after receiving residential complaints about trees being over-pruned.

One of those complaints came from a Kelowna homeowner, who recently received an email from city mayor Tom Dyas promising to look closer at the issue.

“I was quite excited when I opened up that email,” Giulio Di Palma told Global News.

“It was from the city, the mayor and council and he’s very supportive of our issue that we have.”

Click to play video: 'Concerned residents call on Fortis BC to be more thoughtful and sensitive when cutting down trees'
Concerned residents call on Fortis BC to be more thoughtful and sensitive when cutting down trees

Di Palma says he was shocked to come home and discover FortisBC came by, without notice, and took off an entire side of a spruce tree in his yard.

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While he understands that trees growing into power lines have to be trimmed for safety reasons, he’s among a growing number of residents calling on Fortis to be more thoughtful when trimming trees.

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He’s also hoping residents will be notified before the work is done, and is hopeful the city’s involvement will spur change.

In his case, Di Palma says with so much of his tree gone, he’s calling on Fortis to remove the tree altogether.

“It’s great to see that the city is involved and they will have FortisBC involved and maybe we’re going to see some changes.”

Global News contacted FortisBC earlier this month about the incident.

Click to play video: 'Trees trimmed near power lines in Okanagan raising safety concerns'
Trees trimmed near power lines in Okanagan raising safety concerns

The company replied, saying, “Safety is our priority when we trim trees. Trees falling on or touching power lines can cause power outages, energize nearby property and pose a fire risk.”

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The company also said, “Property owners are encouraged to plant a safe distance away from power infrastructure and rights-of-way, and can also hire a utility-certified arborist to trim their trees away from lines before we’re required to trim for.”

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