Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Saving tree is about protecting her roots

Homeowner forces crew to stop excavation

  • Print

THE majestic 25-metre elm is a part of Patricia Kuzak's home in West Kildonan, and she has become its silver-haired saviour.

Still in her red bathrobe Thursday morning, the 76-year-old woman ran barefoot to the boulevard in front of her south-facing house to rescue the old tree.

Kuzak said sewage and drainage upgrades were being done in front of her home by city workers and a private construction crew -- they were digging a hole and, in the process, sawing through two giant sections of the elm's roots.

So, she leaped into action.

"I said, 'Get the hell out of here. I'm phoning the press, I'm calling the city, I'm getting an arborist out here.' And they did," said Kuzak. She also put up signs warning crews she had planted perennials on the boulevard beneath the mountainous snowbanks.

"You can bulldoze the house but you can't take a tree. You start to think like (Pierre) Trudeau... 'Just watch me,' " she said.

"Why would they excavate directly in front of a tree? It's a big bloody tree; it took a long time to get that big. How come human beings have no respect for any living things other than themselves?"

The tree, so enormous that its trunk branches out three ways, has shaded the house she and her husband, Bob, 78, have owned since 1965 and where they raised their four daughters. It has been the backdrop to countless family photos and a cornucopia of colour as the seasons changed in the environment and their lives.

"We sit on the front step as a family, under the canopy of this tree and chew the fat out there. It's like our patio, right there on the front steps. It shades us. It protects us from the hot sun," she said.

"If you don't act, things will happen that you can't change. I'm just saying give us a way to get around this without tearing up the roots of that tree."

The tree is mostly on the Kuzaks' property.

Kuzak contacted Coun. Ross Eadie (Mynarski), who arranged to have an official go to the property.

"The city sent Chris out here from their forestry department and he said it's a private tree so the city won't make an assessment on it," said Bob Kuzak. "But (workers) moved off our frontage and are digging where there's no big tree, so we see what the power of one can do.

"Pat went out there and told them to stop, she called the city and the city did respond. They came to our rescue."

Eadie said since the tree has been identified as a private tree. If it dies because of the root damage, the issue would be between the homeowners and Borland Construction, which is the contracted service that cut the roots.

"It is a beautiful tree, so I hope it will be OK," Eadie said.

The couple said they'll watch the tree for signs of distress, but hope for the best.

"I told Bob, if that tree is down, I'm down," Patricia said. "The tree is more important than the house. You can build a house. You can't build a tree."

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 5, 2013 0

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Key of Bart: Let It Blow

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Bright sunflowers lift their heads toward the south east skies in a  large sunflower field on Hwy 206 and #1 Thursday Standup photo. July 31,  2012 (Ruth Bonneville/Winnipeg Free Press)
  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project. Baby peregrine falcons. 21 days old. Three baby falcons. Born on ledge on roof of Radisson hotel on Portage Avenue. Project Coordinator Tracy Maconachie said that these are third generation falcons to call the hotel home. Maconachie banded the legs of the birds for future identification as seen on this adult bird swooping just metres above. June 16, 2004.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should Canada send heavy military equipment to Ukraine?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google