February 6, 2017 5:54 pm
Updated: February 7, 2017 3:28 am

Falling branches in Port Coquitlam neighbourhood raise ire of residents

WATCH: Residents say that their despite warnings, the wet, heavy snow over the weekend has proven too much for trees to bear, falling on roads and property in Port Coquitlam.

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After the weekend snowfall, a Port Coquitlam man is furious over the potential danger from falling branches in his neighbourhood.

Steven Carter claims the trees on Wellington Street, which is beside McLean Park, have been a danger to the public for the past decade.

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In December, Carter says he called and emailed the City of Port Coquitlam several times to remove the branches. The city promised they would do something about the branches in January, but Carter said they never showed up.

“They had their chance over the last three weeks and they never showed up,” Carter told Global News.

“So we’re desperate. I’m mad as hell.”

READ MORE: B.C. snowfall records smashed this weekend as snow blankets province

With the latest snowfall to hit the Lower Mainland, Carter says his neighbour’s house, which has a large tree limb across their lawn that stretches over their porch and front door, is evidence of how dangerous the falling branches are on his street.

trees-on-house

“What I want to happen is to have the city keep its word,” Carter said.

“And when they say they’re going to do something they should do it. They should come down here, spiral cut these trees, make them safe for the public, so we don’t have an accident waiting to happen.”

Carter says the branches, which are 12 to 15-metres long and weigh up to 500 pounds, are falling into the street and he’s concerned for the safety of pedestrians walking on the sidewalks and heading to the nearby park.

But the City of Port Coquitlam told Global News not much could be done for prevention due to the type of snow that fell over the weekend.

READ MORE: Snowfall warnings remain for B.C.’s South Coast Monday, police say don’t drive in some areas

Todd Gross, manager of city parks for Port Coquitlam, said the snow on the weekend wasn’t like the snow in December. It was a much heavier snow and that resulted in the trees not being able to handle the additional weight.

Heavy, wet snow left about 130,000 BC Hydro customers without power over the weekend.

“[The snow] definitely adds a lot of weight to trees and branches, which causes them to fall on our lines, so we definitely saw a lot of that over the weekend,” Mora Scott, a spokesperson with BC Hydro, said. “Our crews were kept very busy repairing power lines, broken poles as well as transformers.”

Scott said half of the power outages in B.C. are caused by trees and the province has “three times more trees per kilometre of line then any other utility in North America.”

It’s one of the reasons BC Hydro has a robust vegetation management program. Scott says the utility company spends about $50 million a year on trying to identify problematic trees and keep them away from their lines.

Port Coquitlam city crews are currently out removing trees that fell on the roads but Gross said they still need to assess if the trees and branches fell from city or private land.

In the meantime, Gross said they need the public to be “our eyes” and report any issues with fallen branches or debris.

PHOTO: Can you spot the stop sign?

Tree removal in Port Coqutilam. Can you see the stop sign?

Darrell Patton | Global News
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