Illegal tree cutting caught by Google's cameras?
Published Friday, January 29, 2010 8:50PM PST
The former owner of a southwest Vancouver home and her daughter have been accused of cutting down 23 trees on the property -- even though they only had a permit to cut two of them.
Not only have they been charged with illegally removing the trees, which could result in thousands of dollars in fines, the tree cutting act appears to have been caught on camera.
A specially-equipped car used to build Google's Street View feature captured an image of the Olympic Street property just as the cedars, cypress and evergreens were being axed last year.
"Maybe there is somebody upstairs watching," chuckled neighbourhood resident Betty Cosar.
The tree cutting really got residents riled up. They're the ones who reported it to the city.
Jennifer Wade said the trees used to give her backyard some privacy. But not anymore.
"It was a very sad thing to hear the trees being cut. To think, great, oxygen-giving trees were coming down -- thud, thud," Wade said.
Former homeowner Margaret Burnyeat and her daughter Elizabeth, and landscaper Michael Safronick, have been charged with illegally removing the trees.
None of them could be reached for comment Friday.
They are due back in court in June.
It's unclear whether the Google images will be used as evidence.
Meanwhile, the new homeowners have already put the house back on the market. It sits empty.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's St. John Alexander