Campbell River council extends deadline to remove problem hedge

A Thulin Street resident has been given until January to remove a hedge that the city says is a safety threat

A Thulin Street resident has been given until January to remove a hedge that the city says is a safety threat.

Steve Mitchell was told last month that he had 30 days to cut down his 1.5 metre tall (five-feet) hedge to no more than one metre, but at the Oct. 11 council meeting, city council agreed to extend that deadline.

Mitchell, after consulting with a landscaper, asked the city for the additional time so that instead of removing or cutting down the hedge, he can relocate it elsewhere on his property.

Mitchell, who appeared before council Sept. 19 to plead his case, told council he would like to wait until winter to remove the hedge.

“If we are going to have to move it, I would request that we do it at a time that gives the hedge the best chance of survival which would be either January or February when the root system would not be active,” Mitchell said. “It would take some of the stress out of it.”

Council and city staff agreed to that request and gave Mitchell until Jan. 31, 2017 to comply with the remedial action order originally issued by the city in August. City Clerk Peter Wipper said city staff received a complaint about the hedge, which runs along the corner of Thulin Street and 3rd Avenue, and upon investigation found that it reduces visibility for drivers pulling up to the intersection.

The city sent a letter to the property owner on Jan. 13, 2016 ordering the hedge be cut down to no more than one metre in height within 30 days. In August, council issued a remedial action order because the owner had not yet complied with the request.

Mitchell appealed the order in September and questioned how city staff interpreted the bylaw regarding sight lines.

“It states that we have to be 2.4 metres back from the intersection, it states very clearly ‘the intersection,’” Mitchell told council at the time. “This hedge is 4.3 metres – 14 feet – back from the intersection.”

But Wipper told Mitchell that “when we’re talking about intersection, we’re talking about 2.4 metres from the property line, not the road.”

Mitchell said that wasn’t how he perceived the city’s bylaw but said that if he was going to be forced to cut down the hedge that he would prefer to move it to another location on his property.

Mitchell will now have until the end of January to do so. Wipper told council that if the hedge is not taken care of prior to that deadline that a city contractor will cut down the hedge at the owner’s expense.