© Nathan Liewicki
Wakamow Valley Director of Community Relations Crystal Froese squats beside what used to be a six-foot tall fir tree. Last week Wakamow staff noticed the tree had been cut down with what appears to have been a saw.
Wakamow Valley staff makes regular trips through the park to make sure everything is okay.
Last week, Wakamow CEO Margaret Moran was driving through the park. Something just didn’t look right.
Moran doubled back to make sure her eyes weren’t playing tricks on her. Sure enough, what she expected to see was not there.
“I went back to take a closer look and low and behold I saw that the tree had been cut down,” said Moran. “You can tell it was done by a saw. It wasn’t something naturally occurring like a beaver.”
According to Moran, the approximately six-foot tall fir tree was planted 10 to 15 years ago as a sampling. Throughout the years the park’s maintenance staff had nurtured it.
“Our best guess is somebody (took) it to be used as a Christmas tree,” said Moran.
This isn’t, however, the first time an incident like this has taken place in Wakamow.
In December 2011, another tree in Wakamow was cut down.
Regardless of what the motive behind chopping down the tree was, Moran and other Wakamow staff members are disheartened by the act.
“For us to replace that tree – in the state that it was – it would be at least $500 or $600,” Moran noted. “That's how much it would cost for a tree of the same maturity.
“It didn't have to compete with anything. It was nicely formed. It's just a shame.”
Despite being disheartened, Moran was adamant that said action taken by the involved party was illegal.
“It is seen by the bylaw as an act of vandalism,” Moran stated. “It's just not something that should be done. It's against the law.”
The local bylaw Moran referred to was Miscellaneous Bylaw No. 4423 (8). It reads: “no person shall unlawfully cut, break, or bark, root up or otherwise destroy or damage the whole or any part of any tree, sapling or shrub growing in any public place within the City.”
Section 27 of the same bylaw also reads: “no person shall cut, break or in any way injure or deface the trees, shrubs, plants … within any park.”
The bylaw states that anyone found guilty of either offence will be fined a minimum of $85.
At this point in time there is nothing Wakamow can do about what happened. They can only look to the future and nurturing more young fir trees.
“There's a Chinese proverb that says the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago,” said Moran. “The next best time is now.”
Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks