(A horse chestnut tree)

The district of Oak Bay has fined a person $48,350 for the removal and replacement of a horse chestnut tree that had been poisoned.

The tree, which was previously on Beach Drive, had reportedly been poisoned in the summer by drilling holes into the bark and placing poison inside the trunk. The municipality had the tree removed earlier this week after it was determined that it had since died.

“This was a very disturbing incident and we took the appropriate action to resolve the matter,” former Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen said in a press release.

“The amount collected should send a strong message to everyone that we are serious about protecting and enhancing our urban forest in Oak Bay and there are serious consequences for this type of behaviour.”

The municipality said it would not disclose the name of the guilty party, but that they had agreed to pay the $48,350 fine.

The majority of the funds from the fine will go towards the costs for removing the tree, finding its replacement (which factors in available stock, growth potential, and benefits to the existing tree canopy), transporting it, and lastly installing it. The remainder will go towards the district’s Urban Forest Strategy.

“Council is very aware that Oak Bay Residents place a very high priority on trees and the environment,” said Jensen. “The urban forest is a defining feature of our community and Council is committed to protecting and enhancing the forest for current and future generations.”