For several years, Conrad Junos warned the City of Abbotsford that a tree near his house was potentially unsafe.
Last week’s windstorm ultimately proved the Abbotsford resident right.
Junos, whose house backs onto a trail entry on Fishtrap Creek Park, told The News that his repeated concerns were not upon acted swiftly and the tree fell on Tuesday (Sept. 20). It completely blocked entry of the trail, smashed into his fence and damaged it, and ended up all over his backyard.
Thankfully no one was injured, but Junos noted that his family is often in the backyard and if they were there the consequences could have been disastrous. He added that the person he spoke to on the phone stated someone would investigate the issue, but no one ever did.
A fallen tree has now blocked a path entry at #Abbotsford’s Fishtrap Creek Park. The tree fell due to wind earlier this morning. It also smashed a homeowners fence and is strewn in their backyard pic.twitter.com/IYt4Hsdebn
— Ben Lypka (@BenLypka) September 21, 2022
“For the last three years I’ve been phoning. asking the city to cut down the trees because it’s leaning towards my house endangering my family,” he said. “Every time I phoned them the city told me they’re going to send someone, and then I asked them if I can get a case number for the calls so I have some reference the next time I made follow-up calls. The city told me that they don’t provide case numbers.”
It’s unclear why Junos wasn’t provided a case number, but he eventually was given one on Tuesday afternoon.
“They were always very consistent to their response, which was ‘the city will send someone to look at it’ with no action,” he said. “I don’t know what would be the nicest word to say, to describe my feelings in dealing with them, and that is they are telling me white lies, and that’s how I felt every time I phoned them because I know already what response I would hear from the city.”
The mess was eventually cleaned up on Friday afternoon (Sept. 23). Junos said he believes other nearby trees could potentially create a similar hazard and he intends to contact the city to deal with it in the near future.
Aletta Vanderhyden, the city’s communications manager, stated that the best way to report issues similar to what Junos experienced is on the City of Abbotsford website. She said reporting can be done with the city app, on the website abbotsford.ca/city-hall/contact-us/report-issue or by phone 604-853-2281.
“When an issue is reported, a notification is issued with an appropriate team for follow-up. In the case of a tree, that’s a team within our Parks, Recreation and Culture division,” she said. “A coordinator or technician then contacts the resident, visits the site and assesses the tree. The city uses certified arborists with current Tree Risk Qualifications to conduct assessments and the assessments use the industry standard assessment methodology.
“If a hazard is detected, a risk mitigation plan is created and one of our registered tree service provision companies is contacted for completion of the work.”