• Nick Zacharias

Speaking for the trees


The mature cedar hedges growing along the edge of Farshid Zavosh’s Hudson property have been aggressively pruned without his permission by a subcontractor of Bell Canada.

When Farshid Zavosh moved to Hudson from Vancouver in July, he came for the small town feel and the draw of all the trees. It was to his great shock and dismay that just three months after moving in, roughly half of the mature cedar hedges on his property were aggressively cut back without his consent.

“It’s devastating,” said Zavosh, “they came to my backyard and completely destroyed about 40 trees.”

The incident began when an employee of Telecon, working under contract for Bell Canada, came to Zavosh’s door on October 14 to inform him that they would be installing new fibre optic lines on the existing poles on the street and would need to trim back some trees for safe access.

Said Zavosh, “They told us they’d have to trim back two or three inches, but these guys they hired from Asplundh showed up and took them down more like four feet.” Even at a couple of inches, he had not signed off to approve the work on his property.

Trees already at risk

“I’d already trimmed two feet off the hedges this summer because they’re 20 years old and they’d become a little overgrown.” He said he’d tidied them up so the lower trunks that were thinner would fill in more, and was warned not to cut further down for at least a year to prevent the trees from going into shock and dying. “I was fine with the idea of them just taking a couple of inches to make room, and I was assured they would send someone to measure exactly and discuss the work with me before I signed off on anything. But that never happened. These guys just showed up five days later and started chopping them completely back.”

Caught by surprise and alerted by the noise of the trimmers on the morning of October 19, Zavosh scrambled out to stop them, but not before they’d managed to cut the tops off about 100 feet of hedgerow.

Said Zavosh, “To get them to stop, I told them they were trespassing and I was calling the police.” He explained that they’d gone in through his neighbour’s yard and were cutting the hedge from behind. The workers stopped when he told them to, and moved on to a neighbouring hedge instead. They were working their way back toward Zavosh’s property when the neighbour also told them to stop what they were doing. “That was when the police were about to show up. They did stop, but the damage was done. Where they cut there’s basically nothing left but empty trunks.”

No easy resolution

Zavosh called Telecon and Bell to tell them what happened. He said the people at Bell admitted there was a miscommunication and that things had moved too fast and without his approval. “They said they are going to see what they can do to compensate, to do something to replace the trees” said Zavosh. “But you can’t just make 20-year-old trees re-appear overnight. That’s why I wanted to reach out to the media, to warn people how quickly things can happen and get out of control, and that you really have to be vigilant about anyone coming to do work on your property.” He said he’d come to visit Hudson before moving and fell in love with it for the community and for the trees, and would hate to see that lost.

“With all the new development that’s coming, a lot more trees will be lost so it’s important that people know their rights to protect the trees on their property.” Situations like this worsen when people don’t question what they see going on.

“I saw in Vancouver what can happen when building gets out of control, and companies get away with doing whatever they want.”

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