Norm Zepp has seen trees being chopped down on Saskatchewan Crescent since he started living at his home in 1996.
But the 67-year-old said he still got upset when three city-owned trees – two spruces and one elm – were recently reduced to stumps at the site of a new home build.
“We’re losing endless amounts of trees on both public and private land in the area,” he said.
Zepp isn’t the only neighbour up in arms – Larry Stewart called it an assault on the neighbourhood.
“It’s destructive, and destroying the neighbourhood,” he said. “The new neighbour isn’t going to find themselves welcome.”
Zepp said some owners don’t care about large fines that are supposed to stop people from cutting down city-owned trees.
“The trees had cages on them to not be cut down, but this owner did it anyways,” he said, adding the removal of the trees left him feeling like the city’s fines aren’t high enough.
“This is pocket change for people with lots of money to do what they want,” he said. “It should be a crime to cut down city trees.”
650 CKOM’s calls for comment have not been returned by the property owner.
Coun. Cynthia Block, who represents the area, said most developers and builders respect the tree policy.
“If we don’t have enough tools in the tool kit to make sure the fines are a deterrent, than perhaps we need to go back to the drawing board to make sure they are,” she said.
“I will be asking a few questions about this at Monday’s council meeting.”
Zepp said the city should replant the trees right away, in order to immediately take away any benefit to the homeowner from taking the trees out.
“That means he would pay a fine for nothing. He doesn’t get his view or access that he wants because new trees would be there,” he said.
Zepp said the trees cut down were more than 100 years old.
A City of Saskatoon spokesperson declined to say whether the homeowner would face penalties, citing an ongoing investigation.
“The city is greatly disturbed with the removal of three publicly-owned trees on Saskatchewan Crescent East. However, there is a process we must follow before anyone is in a position to make any public allegation of wrongdoing; an investigation – which started Friday – remains active.
Once complete, the city will have all the relevant and factual information to share with the city solicitor’s office as well as the Saskatoon Police Service, if appropriate.
Parks Division staff are also exploring options for replacing the city-owned trees which were so obviously destroyed.”