Middleton residents eager to trim obstructive trees

Some Middleton Mountain residents are looking for measures to protect their views from overgrown trees.

Some Middleton Mountain residents are looking for measures to protect their views from overgrown trees.

“Many people bought their houses for that reason (lake view),” said Tibor Fridrik, a Middleton Way resident whose own view has been blocked by neighbours’ trees. “Some trees which are 15 years and older are reaching heights of 50 feet.”

Fridrik has approached his neighbours with tall trees to see if they could come to an agreement. Some don’t want to lose the shade the trees provide and others can’t afford the costs to cut down or trim the trees.

In one case, Fridrick paid for a neighbour’s tree to be trimmed, but five years later the growth is back where it started.

And he’s not the only one losing a view to trees.

“It’s a number of streets, it’s not just a couple of us,” said Fridrik, who would like Coldstream to implement a bylaw which would limit the height of trees in the neighbourhood.

“Simply notify the property owners to crop off the trees within 30 days or the city will do it for them and send them the bill,” Fridrik suggests.

Presently, Coldstream tells property owners with complaints that they can offer to top their neighbour’s tree at their expense or replace the trees with unobstrusive landscaping.

Some properties have building schemes on title, which were put in place when they were first developed to protect the view. Coldstream advises that property owners can take action against a neighbour that is in conflict with the building scheme.

But Coun. Maria Besso isn’t impressed with the district’s current approach to complaints.

“I think that’s a cop-out,” said Besso, who asked staff to provide additional information so Coldstream can enforce such building schemes.

“I think that we have a responsibility.”

But there is still the matter of properties that do not fall under a building scheme and have no restrictions on tree heights.

There is also evidence from other municipalities that bylaws restricting tree heights can be a challenge to enforce.

“Council has very broad powers and it’s just a matter of whether council wants to get into the game, so to speak,” said Michael Reiley, director of development.

Coldstream will also be reviewing the impact of buildings obstructing views at its next meeting – Nov. 13.