Grant and Christine Hengen object to cutting back two of their three hedges on Stanton Avenue.

Grant and Christine Hengen object to cutting back two of their three hedges on Stanton Avenue.

Maple Ridge bylaws department targets hedge, hoop

Christine and Grant Hengen have been told they have to cut down three bushes so motorists have better visibility along the street.

A few calls to city hall and lives for some residents in west Maple Ridge have become more complicated.

After living in their Stanton Avenue home for 23 years and watching their cedar hedge grow skyward, Christine and Grant Hengen have now been told they have to cut down three of the bushes so motorists turning from Ashley Crescent on to Stanton have better visibility along the street.

The couple could understand that if people had been complaining or there have been accidents at the quiet suburban corner just west of 203rd Street. If that was the case, she’d be only to happy to get out the saw. But there haven’t been any incidents since she’s been living there.

“I could understand if there’s been more than one complaint,” says Grant.

The city is telling the Hengens to do some major pruning, by cutting the first three trees in the hedge.

The letter tells her that under the city’s highway and traffic bylaw, the hedge is creating a visual obstruction.

She was first informed in March, then received another letter on Tuesday giving her until April 19 to take down the trees.

“How many cars are we talking about here?” she asked.

“I don’t think it’s right that one person has this much power. Why do I have to pay because he can’t make a left turn?”

It’ll cost money to remove the trees, about 10 metres tall, plus it could harm the rest of hedge, and the lot’s appearance. Just cutting the trees in half could kill them.

Christine says she’s contacted the city and intends on writing more letters.

City bylaws manager Robin MacNair said there have been several complaints from the area recently and there is more than one person complaining. People shouldn’t assume they know who is making the complaint, she added.

Mike Coulter, who lives nearby on Ashley Crescent, also received a warning from bylaws, this one telling him he has to move a basket ball hoop three metres away from the curb and on to his property. It was described as “debris on highway” and failure to do so may net a $350 fine.

The hoop is actually his neighbour’s and has been in the cul de sac for years. His kids now use it and he has already taken it off the road after being requested by bylaws three years ago.

But now, having to move it so far up the driveway means he’ll probably have to take it down. He must do so by Friday, according to the warning.

“What they’ve basically done is make us take down the basketball hoop so the kids cannot play. It’s just so frustrating,” he said.

“That’s one of the first things they do when they get home from school is grab a ball and go out and shoot hoops. ‘Its like, ‘Oh well, sorry kids, go sit in the house.’”

He said there are two or three other basketball hoops on the street that didn’t get notices.