The City of Kelowna is seeing the public’s help to solve a rash of tree vandalism — instances it believes were intentional poisoning of trees.
According to the city, a large elm tree at 900 Manhattan Drive, near downtown Kelowna, had to be cut down after it died because of poisoning.
It also claims an aspen tree in the Kuipers Peak neighbourhood was poisoned, and that seven nearby aspens with connected root systems also died.
“These intentional acts of harm to our trees are really tragic and senseless,” said Tara Bergeson, an urban forestry technician with the City of Kelowna.
“With all the benefits that trees provide our city, the big question when it comes to tree vandalism is ‘Why?’ The elm on Manhattan was a mature tree providing shade, helping to clean the neighbourhood’s air and beautifying the street.”
The city says the aspens were in an area known as the Clarance Greenspace, where Clarance Avenue meets Kuipers Crescent in the Upper Mission area.
Bergeson says the area is a wet forest, where deciduous trees help moderate groundwater, which then stabilizes nearby slopes.
Also, the city says the large elm was estimated to be more than 60 years old, and that it was located in a riparian zone. The tree’s removal cost $5,000.
The city added that anyone found to be vandalizing or removing trees on city property could be fined up to $50,000 for each tree.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the City of Kelowna at 250-469-8500 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.