$50,000 reward for tips leading to arrest in Halifax Public Gardens tree vandalism

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Global News Morning Halifax: September 8
The online edition of Global News Morning with Paul Brothers and Eilish Bonang on Global Halifax – Sep 8, 2022

A $50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for vandalizing more than 30 trees at the Halifax Public Gardens.

In a release, the Friends of the Public Gardens said Halifax Regional Police have established a tip line to report information about the vandalism.

Read more: ‘Senseless act’: Trees damaged by axe inside Halifax Public Gardens

The reward was established through $25,000 in anonymous donations to the Friends of the Public Gardens, as well as another $25,000 from Robert Pace, chair of the Public Gardens Foundation.

“Halifax residents are proud of their beautiful Public Gardens and these senseless acts of vandalism to the Gardens have greatly impacted residents and galvanized them to help find those responsible for these crimes,” the release said.

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People check out a damaged tree at the Halifax Public Gardens on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lyndsay Armstrong

At some point between 9 p.m. on July 25 and 7 a.m. on July 26, an unknown vandal or group of vandals broke into the Public Gardens and removed strips of bark around the trunk of 32 trees “in an apparent attempt to kill them.”

The bark cutting, known as girdling, is a way to kill a tree without cutting it down. If the cambium layer the part of the tree that produces new wood is damaged enough, the tree will die.

Most of the trees are between 50 and 200 years old. Four of the damaged trees have since been removed and staff are still working to save the rest.

“It could take years to know the results of their efforts,” the release said, adding that replacing the 32 trees is estimated to cost more than $350,000.

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Read more: Work is ongoing to save vandalized historic trees at Halifax Public Gardens

Kevin Osmond, senior supervisor of Halifax’s urban forestry department, told reporters in July that whoever caused the damage “knew exactly what they were doing.”

One of the damaged trees in the Halifax Public Gardens. Provided/Halifax Regional Municipality

At the time of the break-in and tree vandalism, there were no cameras installed at the Public Gardens or overnight security. That has since changed, and both overnight security and video cameras are now in place.

Anyone with information, images or video related to the vandalism can call the Halifax Regional Police tip line at 1-1902-471-7877. Anonymous tips can be submitted through Crime Stoppers online or by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

— with files from The Canadian Press 


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