Resident says municipality removed trees from her property without her consent

Section: 
News

By Barb McKay

Patricia Hoffman was shocked when she arrived at her home on Harbour Street one day in September 2014 to discover that a row of 60-year-old cedar trees that lined the back of her property had been chopped down.

Since then, she has been in contact with the municipality and marina searching for answers and getting none. Last Wednesday, three years after the trees were removed, Hoffman appeared as a delegation to the Municipality of Kincardine council asking that the trees be replaced.

Hoffman has lived at 222 Harbour Street, near the lighthouse, since 2001 and has looked after the cedars that were planted after the home was built.

"I have a survey and was told I own the property down to the harbour wall,” she said.

In 2014, a project was undertaken to repair the harbour wall and the trees were removed to complete the work. Hoffman said trees were removed 10 feet past where the harbour wall ended.

“No one ever told me about this plan. I was not part of the discussion to have these trees taken down.”

She said the trees acted as a privacy screen and also blocked fumes from the boats that drove in and out of the harbour. She said when she contactedmunicipal Treasurer Roxana Baumann she was told the intent was not for the municipality to replace all the trees but the ones on the property line. However, at this point there has been no resolution.

Deputy Mayor Jacqueline Faubert said she has received consistent emails from Hoffman over the past few years, which she has forwarded to Parks and Recreation Director Karen Kieffer, who has been in touch with Hoffman.

Hoffman said she has spoken with Kieffer, and got the impression that the department head thought there was maybe some kind of mistake and there was some confusion when work was being done on the harbour wall about who the trees belonged to.

“I think communication is a great thing, and in your case it seems like there was a lack of it,” said Councillor Gord Campbell.

“I was violated I feel,” Hoffman said.

“I agree – what you’ve been through is not good and hopefully we can resolve it,” said Councillor Maureen Couture.

Mayor Anne Eadie said council would have municipal staff look into the situation further and bring a report back to a future council meeting. Councillor Andrew White noted that Jim Cooper of the Kincardine Yacht Club, which manages the harbour for the municipality, should be included on the report.