A TREE TOO FAR | William Thomas Online | William Thomas


Removed arbutus was around corner from the condo dig. -Will Thomas photo

Removed arbutus was around corner from the condo dig. -Will Thomas photo



William Thomas, Micheal Johns, Michelle Easterly

Bookseller Michael Johns, his wife Ceridwen, and Michelle Easterly all used to run businesses on the Thatch property. “Our kids used to play on those tress and those hills,” Michelle relates. At the last ferry meeting, Michael John told BCFC, “hands off.”

Here is Michael Johns’ Facebook report:

“The Komoks band midden and a very tall, beautiful heritage arbutus tree were cut down by an off-island tree cutting service working in conjunction with an off-island paving service with a backhoe. This was done under instructions from a worker in Terminal Maintenance in order to locate a cistern. The worker had no knowledge of the Hornby Island /Shingle Spit Terminal nor that there was a live archeological site involved. Furthermore, he explained that his instructions were for them to just trim a few branches off the tree and pave a small area in the pull-out zone in order to locate a cistern / water treatment plant for the new ferry waiting room & washrooms. This is not what happened.

     “What happened was that the tree service and paving company completely cut down the tree and attempted to remove the very large stump with a backhoe that was too small for the job, utterly destroying the large hump of midden leading up to the rocky outcrop that locals call “the tump" and which is a scenic and well-loved landmark on Hornby island.

     “Curiously, because this is a scenic and well-loved landmark, at the last BC ferries Community meeting a family member of mine had stood up and requested directly to BC ferries management that it not be disturbed. Further conversations ensued with BCF management privately by text message, and promises were made that it would not be touched unless absolutely necessary when the Shingle Spit ferry terminal "upgrade" construction commenced.

     “Imagine the BC Ferries manager's shock and dismay when we informed her of this on Sunday night. Just... imagine.

     “We went down to the site first thing on Monday morning, not in protest, but to be there in case the crew came back to do more work at the site, and to inform them that it was not OK with BC ferries, and that the management was putting in a cease and desist order, and that they had pretty seriously screwed things up. The site is part of the Shingle Spit midden, a Komoks band heritage site, protected by the Heritage Act of BC. 

     “If you want to know what difficulties are involved with doing anything to a site protected by the Heritage act, consider that it involves consultation with the local Tribal Band, a permit to remove anything from the site, a permit to do anything to the flora on the site, and it all needs to be signed off by the local band, and any work done on the site needs to have a professional archeologist on hand to inspect the earth being disturbed, shovel by shovel. This because such sites were used as burial grounds, and that human remains and Native Artifacts are often found on these sites. The Shingle Spit Midden is a known burial ground.

     “Needless to say, none of these protocols were met, and the removal of the tree, the attempted removal of the stump, and the destruction of the midden were in obvious violation of the Heritage Protection Act.

     “BC ferries management were on Denman Island on Monday and aranged to meet with a small group of us at the area in question at 2 pm. The workers involved in the mess-up were present and deeply apologetic. Management was coming to apologise.

     “At first management was ‘It couldn't possibly have been us…’ but it was indeed BC ferries, and it was indeed the workers for the tree-cutting company and the paving company who were responsible for this violation of the BC Heritage Act.

     “I am just posting this as an update to clarify what has happened, and to avoid misunderstanding on this incident.” ~mjt

Michelle Easterly addresses BC Ferries meeting on Denman Island in 2015 -Will Thomas photo

Michelle Easterly addresses BC Ferries meeting on Denman Island in 2015 -Will Thomas photo

Easterly calls this latest debacle, “A perfect storm” with “screw ups right down the road. The BC Ferries Terminal Manager was brand new, knew nothing about Hornby, and did not check with higher ups.”

     The not quite Precision arborists have a history of doing work for hydro here. When Chris the cook came out to ask what they were you doing, the workers explained that they were just removing some branches. After they removed the entire tree and the midden on which it stood, that big arbutus no longer shades his trailer, nor screens his deck from southerly gales. 

     Easterly and others involved with this issue believe that it offers “an opportunity for reconciliation.” While there is talk of replacing the reportedly century-old tree, “it’s not easy to transplant an arbutus,” she points out. In any case, “the K'ómoks band decides, because it’s their land.”

     So is Hornby Island.

End of summer Hornby ferry wave-off -Will Thomas photo

End of summer Hornby ferry wave-off -Will Thomas photo


FREE ASSANGE   发件人     William Thomas 2023