Feb 2010 3

Illegal Tree-Fellers Twigged by Google

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Two women and a tree-cutter have been charged with illegally chopping down trees at a Vancouver home under an old city bylaw.

Neighbours alerted the authorities of the violation in the southwest of the city, which was also caught on film by a Google street-mapping truck in the vicinity at the time of the incident.

A total of 23 cedar, cypress and evergreen trees were axed on the property on Olympic St, formerly owned by one of the accused Margaret Claire Burnyeat. Her daughter Elizabeth and Michael Safronick of Michael Safronick Tree Care Limited have also been charged, according to a city official.

A new tree bylaw came into effect Jan. 1, but the charges apply under the old bylaw, which includes penalties between $500 and $20,000 per tree. The trees were removed in May.

It is not yet clear how the Google evidence will be used in court, which shows a photograph of a truck on the site, along with a couple of workmen, tree debris, and a line of tree stamps along the length of a fence.  

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