(Updated) City of Colwood weighs in on dispute with councillor

Colwood Council

The City of Colwood is providing more information on an incident that resulted in one of their councillors being detained by RCMP Wednesday.

In a statement they say Cynthia Day created an unsafe situation when she refused to leave a work site where crews were trying to remove a retaining wall built on public land. The wall borders Day's property and was built with a permit.

According to the city at the Day's request Colwood provided a temporary Highways Use Permit, which documented the unpermitted works, and allowed the homeowners to make some upgrades. The temporary permit expired in 2004.

Then in 2017 Colwood was advised one of the trees the Days had planted in the public right of way fell onto a neighbouring home.

But Day says the tree was not hers:

" They were not any part of our highway use permit. They were part of a hedge that was not covered by any highway use permit, was not planted or maintained by us, and they were at least 15 feet away from our trees, and had been severely compromised by that homeowner."

The city statement says when the City becomes aware of a safety or liability issue on public property the municipality must address it.  As a result, last year several trees were removed from the public property adjacent to the Day property.

Day says the work was done without consultation, and included a sequoia planted when her daughter was born.

The city says their staff have been working with the Days for a year and a half to find a mutually agreeable solution, and provided them with an encroachment agreement that would have allowed all the remaining plantings and structures to stay in place, as long as the homeowners assumed all responsibility. But the homeowners refused.

Day has said there were a few reasons for not signing, including the impact on their insurance. They were also concerned about who would be in charge of oversight saying .  With an encroachment agreement, the oversight would be done by any staff member which the Days felt was inappropriate.

Colwood Mayor Rob Martin is quoted as saying the work done Wednesday was approved by the previous Council, and was reaffirmed by the current Council on November 26th.   He says "My goal now is to put this issue behind us and move forward as a strong and united Council."

But that doesn't seem likely as the Days say council has acted on erroneous information they are refusing to hear about, and they have been treated unfairly.

Council is dealing with the matter behind closed doors because the Days have threatened legal action.



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