FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. -- “I just wanted to know what was happening, I wasn’t even complaining about the tree cutting,” says Donnell.

Rebecca Donnell’s house backs onto the garrison landing walking trail.

She says the trees that separate her property have become a big part of the community, whether they’re being decorated during the pandemic or at Christmas. So when they were being cut down, she was surprised.

‘I just popped out I wanted to see what all the work was about,” says Donnell.

The City of Fort St. John hired Len’s Tree Service to remove underbrush and hazardous trees to prevent potential wildfires.

Donnell says when she asked an employee about the healthy trees being cut down, she was met with some harsh words.

“I was called a liability, the b-word, more than once. So I just thought I’d sit down because if I was a liability they could have just turned off their woodchipper,” says Donnell.

This then led Donnell to take a stand and stay by the trees.

“So I just sat down and eventually they left,” says Donnell

The City then issued a statement and seemingly an admission saying, ‘While we did halt the work, several healthy trees were removed, and we are now working on plans to plant new trees.’

The City also references the altercation involving the employee from Len’s Tree Service saying it, “does not reflect the high standards we hold ourselves and our contractors to.'

While Donnell can forgive a mistake, she doesn’t appreciate how she was treated.

“Honestly what they were doing was a mistake and not what they were hired by the city to do. So my concerns are less about what’s occurred and more about the name-calling,” says Donnell.

CJDC reached out to Len’s Tree Service for comment. However, they did not return our call. As for Donnell, she says replanting the trees is a good first step, but there will be a hole that won’t soon be filled in the neighbourhood.

“This part of the path had a lot of Christmas lights and decorations. There was a real sense of community here, that occurred during COVID and to see all that just go away, when I think people were enjoying it, was a disappointment,” Says Donnell.