Fraser Valley Mitsubishi owner Don Murphy says two women were on his lot minutes before a tree came down in Tuesday’s wind storm, falling on a row of brand new automobiles.
He is thankful no one was injured and angry that an easily avoidable situation continues to happen.
Another tree toppled in early November, crushing one vehicle and causing $80,000 in damage.
Murphy expects more of these tall, thin trees that bend like straws in the wind will fall in the future.
But because his business is on land adjacent to a fish stream that is also home to some beavers, the City of Chilliwack and the provincial ministries of forestry and fishing forbid him to touch the trees.
Each time he has called a tree-topping service, they tell him they can’t touch the job.
“They’ve told me the City will never give them any more work again, ever, ever, if they find out about it,” Murphy fumed. “If you cut them down, they’ll be happy to come arrest you, but otherwise it’s not their problem.”
“I’m all for nature and preserving the environment, but topping those trees 20 to 30 feet isn’t going to hurt anybody, including the trees. In order to preserve those trees, you need to trim them. But they don’t believe that.”
Murphy expects he’ll have to have a scratch and dent sale to move the vehicles that were damaged this week.
“I don’t know exactly how much damage there is because we’re afraid to go out there,” Murphy said, while the wind continued to howl.
He knows his insurance deductible and rates will rise and he feels powerless to do anything about it.
“My insurance is probably going to go from $15,000 to $30,000 next year, which is significant,” he said. “At the end of the day that’s my problem, which is fine. Just let me top those trees so they won’t come down and kill somebody.”
“But they won’t listen to me. They won’t.”