Cranbrook, BC (March 30, 2016) -- The situation regarding trees, both on private and public property and the responsibility for those trees is regularly a topic of discussion around the community and many questions are often asked of City of Cranbrook staff.
Each resident is responsible for trees on their own private property and are encouraged to have a professional arbourist assess and/or remove trees if there is concern around safety and potential property damage should a tree come down. It is the responsibility of residents to talk to their neighbours when it comes to concerns around neighbourhood trees.
Ownership of the tree is determined at ground level. Private trees are those that have 51 percent or more of their diameter on the private side of the property line and City-owned trees are those that have 51 per cent or more of the trunk diameter on the City side of the property line. If you are unsure as to the ownership of a tree(s), please refer to your property survey, usually found with your home purchase documents.
It is also recommended to review your home insurance policy around damage to property or adjacent properties sustained from falling trees or other tree debris like branches, etc.
The City of Cranbrook Public Works department has a professional arbourist on staff, which assesses trees, conducts trimming and oversees the removal of diseased, dying, dead or dangerous trees as required exclusively on City owned property. The City is also responsible for the care and maintenance of all public trees that line our streets, trees that are in parks and trees along boulevards. Public Works is not allowed to access any private property and does not have the authority to remove trees from private property.
There are three businesses in the city that specialize in the assessment and removal of trees from private property. Those businesses can be found in the yellow pages.
Currently the City of Cranbrook does not have a tree bylaw. The goal of such a bylaw, if there is one drafted, would be to ensure the provision of a sustainable, healthy urban tree canopy within the City of Cranbrook and would certainly protect the old healthy trees in this community.
The City of Cranbrook values and supports a diverse and healthy urban forest. The City has an Urban Forest Management Plan in place since 2008. Just over 1000 specimen trees have been planted on City property since the program began, with 350 new trees planted since 2012.