file photo

Winnipeg police arrest man after trees were chopped to move house along boulevard

WINNIPEG — Police in Winnipeg say a man has been arrested after numerous trees were cut down along a city boulevard early Saturday to make room for a house that was being moved out of the city.

Traffic officers were helping with the move along Roblin Blvd. and a moving company had a permit to move the structure, police said in a news release, but they said it appears the operator hadn’t confirmed the accessibility of the route as required.

Multiple trees along the move route were deliberately felled or trimmed, police allege, and a man associated with the move faces a charge of mischief over $5,000.

“It’s just unfathomable what happened. It’s just unfathomable,” Kevin Klein, the area’s city councillor, said in a phone interview.

“I had to go down there and see for myself the devastation.”

Klein said he started getting messages early Saturday from upset constituents. He said it looked like more than a dozen trees got chopped, and the house, which was in two sections, was still blocking traffic.

Winnipeg police spokesman Const. Rob Carver said traffic was still impeded on Roblin Blvd. on Saturday afternoon while officials tried to figure out how to remove the house.

Police said City of Winnipeg Forestry officials had been called out to determine the “least impactful” measures to continue with the move.

“There isn’t an easy solution,” Carver said.

Winnipeg has a running challenge for its citizens to plant a million trees. A statement on Mayor Brian Bowman’s website that promotes the challenge says the city’s urban forest is at risk due to old age, disease and invasive species.

Dean Mason, a resident of the Charleswood neighbourhood where Roblin Blvd. is located, estimated about 18 trees were felled on Saturday morning.

“Charleswood is known as a pretty green, forested area,” Mason said. “It’s pretty bare looking around there now.”