The District of Port Hardy will be addressing the condition and hazard potential of trees in the Stink Creek, Storey’s Beach and Beaver Harbour areas by instituting a tree mitigation.
District of Port Hardy Public Works Operations Manager Sean Mercer prepared a report for council on the three locations which was presented at the April 28 meeting.
A tree risk assessment was completed March 25 by Certified Tree Risk Assessor Dean McGeough. The trees in each area were reviewed to look for signs of crown decline or deterioration, damage to stems and roots, and the presence of fungal fruiting bodies.
Each tree that warranted a thorough assessment was documented and a numbered aluminium flag was attached to the stem. A black and yellow striped flag was attached to the stem of trees with a significant defect.
The district currently has no official tree management plan. It is however legally responsible to protect people using the areas and employees who maintain them.
The Storey’s Beach area from Carlton Street to Scotia Street is predominantly forested by mature and dominant Sitka Spruce with a younger component of Douglas Fir and a minor presence of Western Hemlock. A Sitka Spruce was recently blown down in a strong windstorm.
The most significant risk for Sitka Spruce is from butt rot which is spread following root damage sustained by road maintenance and bank erosion.
In Storey’s Beach 14 trees were deemed to be at risk with 10 requiring treatment. Four are a high risk to adjacent properties and are a priority for mitigation.
A pair of Bald Eagles has created a new nest on one of the spruce trees. Nests are protected under the Wildlife Act and dealing with the trees will have to be done in August or September when the eaglets have fledged from the nest.
A total of eight trees were identified in Beaver Harbour Park, located alongside Storey’s Beach, which contains Sitka Spruce, Douglas Fire, Western Hemlock, Western Red Cedar, and Red Alder. Although none are an extreme risk, six of them warrant treatment to protect visitors to the area which includes a day-use park, Rotary Pavilion, playing field and boat launch. Exposure of the trees to utility lines will warrant discussion with BC Hydro.
The beach front is being eroded by storms and high tides and as a result bank-anchored trees are collapsing. The study recommends a tree replacement program involving planting Western Red Cedar and Sitka Spruce seedlings three to five metres back from the edge of the bank.
Stink Creek Park, located at the junction of Rupert and Granville streets, is comprised of Red Alder, Western Red Cedar and Western Hemlock. Four trees were identified as warranting service and one was deemed a high risk to people walking or working in the area.
It is recommended that the work be completed in all areas by Oct. 1.
According to the report, trees can be managed by falling them, or by modifying them through topping as well as routine monitoring to see if a tree’s health declines.
Council agreed to implement the program at their meeting April 28.
“Council wanted us to make sure the neighbourhoods knew about it before we proceeded with it,” said Chief Administrative Officer Rick Davidge.