A Kelowna, B.C., couple is livid after utility company FortisBC trimmed their front yard hedges lower than the couple claims they were assured.
“(We are) very upset, because I know these trees are going to die now,” said Cheryl Meyer.
Cherly’s husband, Ken Meyer, said the emerald cedars surrounding his property have been his ‘babies’ as he planted and cared for them for decades.
“We planted them 32 years ago. They block the road noise, they add much beauty and value to the house,” said Ken Meyer.
“It controls the dust. It gives us privacy.”
The retired couple said they agreed to a certain height with FortisBC, which was used for a portion of the hedges. For reasons the Meyers do not know, their other hedges were trimmed around six feet lower than the agreed upon height.
FortisBC declined an on-camera interview, but did provide a statement.
“It’s important to understand that trees near our equipment are safety and system reliability concerns,” FortisBC said.
“If a hedge is too close to powerlines, as it was in this case, it could come into contact with the line and cause an outage or a safety hazard.”
The Meyers said FortisBC did contact them about trimming their emerald cedars, but the trimming came much sooner than expected.
“He says, ‘They’re going to have to be trimmed but we aren’t going to come back for about three to four months,’” said Ken.
“I said I would like some time to look into my rights. Two weeks later they came on Monday, this past Monday, (and cut them down).”
In the statement, FortisBC said, “We work as closely as possible with the property owners to remove it in a safe and responsible manner. We were in discussion with the property owners earlier this year, and we let them know that we would need to be back to complete the work.”
According to the Meyers, they said FortisBC told them that if the trees do end up dying, the utility company would not be liable to replace them.