A Sicamous man’s vision for an affordable housing development was altered somewhat when the district cut down trees adjacent to his property along Larch Avenue.
Darrell Trouton says he’d just got back into town and was driving along Larch when he discovered numerous trees had been cut down in the District of Sicamous’ right of way, across from Finlayson Park, had been cut down. Their removal was to accommodate part of the ongoing municipal sewer upgrades.
Trouton says he was never informed beforehand that the trees would be taken out, and he was subsequently shocked, frustrated and saddened to find out after the fact.
“We had no notification whatsoever that these trees would be cut down, and happened to be driving by yesterday evening as the trees were being removed,” said Trouton.
Trouton has been working with the district for a number of years on creating a workable development plan that would accommodate affordable housing options on his property across from Finlayson.
“With regards to our development, we had proposed that these trees be left and utilized in a sidewalk/walking trail through the trees which enhances the park and our development,” said Trouton.
District of Sicamous administrator Alan Harris says the reason the line going on that side of the road has to do with health and cost savings. He explained the water line is on the other side of the road and, per Interior Health requirements, there has to be a distance kept between the water and sewer lines.
“So, by putting it in the district’s right of way, where there is no pavement and you don’t have to worry about restoring the pavement, it reduced the overall cost to the taxpayers,” said Harris, adding not all the trees were removed from the right of way.
Asked if any attempt had been made to inform Trouton of the decision to remove the trees beforehand, Harris said he wasn’t sure, and that he personally hadn’t contacted Trouton.
“And generally, what we do is we look at the projects, and if it has an impact on a property, then we’ll contact them,” said Harris. “There is no direct impact on his property. Again, it’s on the district’s right of way.”
Harris added the pressure is on to get the sewer line along Larch completed before winter so residents in the phase 2 area of the sewer collection system will be able to connect sooner than later.
“Area 2, to get connected, it has to go through a force main that goes to Area 4, so we pushed forward this one to allow people to get quicker access to it to connect.”
Trouton’s development plan has yet to receive final approval from the district.
“Where’s the communication? We were trying to enhance the beauty of that area,” said Trouton.