The cuts were done along the Trans Canada Trail in a neighbourhood where the trees might have been blocking the views of some residents, Mayor Derek Corrigan noted.
“Citizens who go in and try to self help, who go in and try to do something to improve their views or improve their property value, are violating city bylaws and as a result they can expect that they're going to be taken to court and it's going to be significant fines to pay,” Corrigan told CBC News.
Investigations conducted by Burnaby city arborists have led them to Highfield Drive.
Local resident Janet Robertson has lived on the street for decades and said she doesn’t condone the cutting, but said the trees have grown considerably over time and obscured the view for some people.
“It was spectacular,” said Robertson. “You could see all the way down that way and pretty much all the way up to Port Moody.”
Tree sabotage is not just a Burnaby problem. In September, a number of West Vancouver homes received letters telling them to trim their trees or face fines.
The letter was a fake and police believe it was circulated by someone bent on improving neighbourhood views — and property values.
Flora and fauna in peril
Local conservationists worry the cutting is putting metro Vancouver's flora and fauna in peril.
“If it becomes wide-spread, then the whole community loses, the wider community losses a very important part of living here,” said Joe Foy, of the Wilderness Committee.
Corrigan said Burnaby is about to review its tree policy to perhaps find a way to preserve Burnaby's views, especially when it comes to fast-growing trees that are not considered old-growth.
“They're deciduous trees that are quick growth and are having a bigger impact than anybody expected. So Ii think there's ways where we can work together to try to alleviate this situation. But taking the law into your own hands is not the way to do it.”