Kelowna resident expresses frustration over sudden and disruptive FortisBC tree removal

Kelowna man bemoans 'awful,' unexpected FortisBC tree work

“Imagine coming home one day to find a beloved tree in your front yard maimed and mutilated, all without any prior warning. This was the unfortunate reality for Giulio Di Palma, a Kelowna resident who returned from work to discover his spruce tree butchered by FortisBC, a utility company.

The Shocking Discovery
When Di Palma arrived home, he was horrified to see that half of his majestic spruce tree had been stripped of its branches, with a chunk of its top chopped off. The once proud tree now stood humbled in the middle of his front yard, stripped of its street-facing limbs, leaving him feeling like the laughing stock of Barkley Road.

The Lack of Communication
Di Palma’s case highlights the extent to which utility companies like FortisBC can go when a tree encroaches upon power lines. While he acknowledges the safety concerns, Di Palma was upset by the lack of communication from FortisBC regarding the trim. The company claims that homeowners are only notified when a tree needs to be completely removed, not necessarily when trimmed.

The Aftermath
The tree, estimated to be over 50 years old, provided Di Palma with privacy and stood at a height of about 25 feet before FortisBC decided to chop off three feet from the top. Perplexed by the extensive pruning job, Di Palma questioned the necessity of cutting branches so far from the wires, as they posed no immediate risk.

Safety Over Aesthetics
Gary Toft from FortisBC defended the company’s actions, emphasizing that their primary concern is safety, not aesthetics. Trees near power lines pose a potential hazard, as they can fall and cause power outages or worse, a fire. Toft urged homeowners to avoid planting trees under power lines and to hire certified utility arborists to trim risky trees for both safety and appearance.

The Call for Change
Di Palma, left with an eyesore in his front yard, hopes that FortisBC will reconsider their policy and consult with homeowners before trimming trees on their property. He is currently engaging with the company, seeking to have the tree removed and replaced. Despite the loss of his beloved tree, Di Palma emphasized the importance of safety and community well-being over personal aesthetics.

In conclusion, the clash between property owners and utility companies raises questions about communication, safety, and aesthetics. While both parties have valid concerns, finding a balance between preserving natural beauty and ensuring public safety remains crucial in such situations.”



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