A Kimberley strata Council is asking for help from the City of Kimberley in hopes of achieving FireSmart status in the community.
The FireSmart Canada Community Recognition Program is designed as a management approach to reduce fire hazards in the community. The program is tailored to each individual community and/or neighbourhood and each assessment addresses the wildfire related characteristics of the community.
The Tall Pines Strata Council is currently part of the FireSmart program, and has asked for the City’s approval for the removal of 13 trees around the townhouse complex located adjacent to Trickle Creek Golf Course.
Jim Wernham, who is a Tall Pines Strata Member, presented to Council at a regular meeting on Monday. He said that the Kimberley Fire Department, which assesses each FireSmart case, has identified all 13 trees as fire hazards.
Wernham is asking the City for an exemption from the property’s covenant to allow for the removal of the trees.
“Our goal is to become [FireSmart] certified,” Wernham explained on Monday. “We have already addressed a number of concerns around the building including loose needles, shrubs, and trees. On August 15 we are having a clean up day to remove all of the dead leaves and needles; tree build up.”
He adds that the strata Council would hire a professional arborist to remove the trees, both because it is required and also because the trees are located “dangerously close to the buildings”.
Councillor Kent Goodwin said that this is the first he has heard of the covenant around the properties, and asked Troy Pollock, the City’s Manager of Planning Services, for more clarification.
Pollock explained that the covenant was put on the title property prior to development.
“There’s a buffer of forest around the edge of the property,” Pollock said, adding that the covenant is between the City and the developer.
Councillor Sandra Roberts asked Wernham why the 13 specific trees were chosen as hazards, to which he replied saying that two of the trees are blue spruce, which are highly flammable and almost touching the buildings.
“The other trees are [identified as hazards] due to their proximity from the buildings, and were recommended to be removed by the Fire Department who performed the assessment.”
Pollock said that he doesn’t see any issues with removing the trees, as tree removal is allowed under the terms of the covenant.
“The covenant terms do provide for the allowance of the removal of trees under the City’s tree cutting permit, which is typically issued by the Operations Department,” Pollock explained.
Councillor Sandra Roberts commended Wernham and the Tall Pines Council for being proactive and taking the steps towards achieving FireSmart certification.
Council voted unanimously on a motion to defer the request to staff and have them come back with a report, with the final vote taking place at a subsequent Council meeting.