THE eventful journey of a large display home that sparked the destruction of almost two dozen mature trees has resulted in fines and compensation payouts.
On Aug. 7, a building transport company began to move the display home from a spot near the corner of Roblin Boulevard and Scotswood Drive, but the structure was reportedly too wide to clear mature trees along the Roblin median.
The Winnipeg Police Service said officers arrived to provide a previously scheduled escort around 7 a.m. and discovered 17 mature trees had been cut down, allegedly by the vehicle’s driver, who was charged with mischief over $5,000.
In total, 23 Siberian elms were either removed or badly damaged, including six trees city forestry staff later determined had to be cut down.
That sparked an outcry from many Charleswood residents, who felt the trees were a key feature of their neighbourhood.
The same home collided with an overhead sign on the Perimeter Highway’s Wilkes Avenue overpass Aug. 11.
After the sign damage, the province confirmed it would investigate the home’s journey. Penalties have since followed.
"Fines were issued regarding failure to comply with permitting and operating a vehicle exceeding weight capacity. The carrier has paid the fines," a provincial spokesperson said Monday in an emailed statement.
Manitoba Infrastructure will also "seek to recover the cost of the damages to provincial infrastructure."
Kola Building Movers Ltd. received two tickets under the Highway Traffic Act, including a fine of $3,169 for an overweight load and a separate $298 penalty for height and plate requirement violations, according to court records. The company declined an interview request.
Meanwhile, the City of Winnipeg is no longer considering legal action to seek compensation for the publicly owned trees, after reaching a compensation deal with the company.
"We have reached an agreement for damages/clean-up costs with the moving company to the city’s satisfaction," city spokesman Ken Allen said in an email.
Allen noted that arrangement covered "clean-up costs/stump grinding, (the) value of the damaged healthy trees" and other expenses.
The city declined to reveal the total amount of compensation paid.
In Charleswood, there are ongoing demands to ensure the trees are promptly replaced and the incident is not repeated, said Coun. Kevin Klein, who represents the area.
The Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood councillor said the city should publicly reveal how much it was compensated for the loss of public trees.
"You would think that this was such an important, critical issue to the residents... that (officials) would learn to communicate better," said Klein. "They should be clear and precise on what happened. That becomes a deterrent to prevent it from happening again."
The home’s transfer attracted plenty of attention this summer, including social media images from its actual travels and fake additions to the journey. The home was Photoshopped to appear as though it visited several distant places, including British Columbia and the Panama Canal.
— with files from Dean Pritchard
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves to tell the stories of this city, especially when politics is involved. Joyanne became the city hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.