An aging, rotten tree from Vernon’s blue heron rookery, in the city’s north end, gave way Tuesday night, Aug. 18, landing against the back of neighbouring businesses on 24th Street. There were no heron nests in the tree. (Photo submitted)

Vernon heron rookery tree falls on building

Aging tree lands against back of neighbouring 24th Street businesses; no birds in tree

An old, rotting tree at Vernon’s popular blue heron rookery in the city’s north end gave way Tuesday night, Aug. 18, landing on a tilt against a pair of neighbouring businesses.

The tree ended up on a slant, leaning against AJ Machine Works Inc. and North Okanagan Closets which are side-by-side in one building on 24th Street.

A spokesperson for North Okanagan Closets said a friend was driving by the shop at approximately 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and saw the tree fall. The spokesperson said there is some damage to the building’s roof.

Removing the tree won’t be easy, said Rita Bos, Vernon Heronry Protection Society senior director, as she and other heronry society members simply can’t go and remove the tree without proper permissions.

“With that property, and even though the birds are not there, we are not allowed to touch the tree,” said Bos.

She said the herons have taken off from the heronry, or fledged, meaning the young herons have gone to learn how to fish while their parents migrate south.

“Some will tough it out and stay in Coldstream,” said Bos. “But they are cold. Some go as far as Florida and Costa Rica.”

The rookery was in the spotlight earlier this summer when Vernon council rescinded third reading of rezoning a 20th Street property neighbouring the rookery June 8 and the matter, including a covenant protecting the birds’ habitat, was to go to another public hearing.

A first public hearing in July 2019 drew an overflow crowd to Vernon council chambers.

The new public hearing, set for Monday, Sept. 14, will be held at the Vernon Recreation Centre auditorium to accommodate more people.

City council first voted to implement a covenant protecting the habitat site of the blue-labelled endangered species from construction disturbances following a lengthy public hearing in July 2019.

The covenant, which has yet to be finalized, limits construction during the heron’s spring-summer nesting season and put a 100-metre noise sensitivity buffer into effect, as advised by an environmental consultant. Several other stipulations, such as dust control and high-risk activities, are included in the covenant.

Following an independent land survey and environmental assessment, Scotland Constructors asked council to waive the covenant as the proposed site of development is outside the 100-metre noise buffer zone.

Councillors unanimously voted to hold up its covenant during the regular meeting May 11 to avoid another public hearing, which would likely further delay construction. The issue was brought up for reconsideration at the following meeting.

The North Okanagan Naturalists’ Club encouraged members and residents write to mayor and council to encourage the protection and upholding of the environmental covenant. Council received nearly 200 emails as a result.

READ MORE: Fall hearing for Vernon heron rookery

READ MORE: Vernon council unanimously approves rezoning application near heronry

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Regional district funding phased out for Friends of Fintry

Heritage site volunteer group loses $39,000 grant incrementally over next two years

Vernon council boosts O’Keefe Ranch grant

Proposed increase of $75K passed through council by one vote margin

Vernon’s Vasek Pospisil ousted at French Open

Paris has never been kind to Vernon tennis star, now 0-7 at the Grand Slam event

Vernon company scores global award

Rotech Motor Ltd. named ROTAX Engines Distributor of the Year, beating out European powers

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

Orange Shirt Day lessons of past in today’s classrooms

Phyllis Webstad, who attended St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School in British Columbia, is credited for creating the movement

Greens’ Furstenau fires at NDP, Liberals on pandemic recovery, sales tax promise

She also criticized the NDP economic recovery plan, arguing it abandons the tourism industry

U.S. Presidential Debate Takeaways: An acrid tone from the opening minute

Here are key takeaways from the first of three scheduled presidential debates before Election Day on Nov. 3

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Peachland resident finds severed bear paw on driveway

Tracie Gordon thought it was a Halloween prank, but it turned out to be a real bear paw

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

Most Read