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Fallen 50-foot Oak Bay oak tree downs residential electric line, impedes path

Oak didn’t disturb circuit breaker, still impedes path to St. Patrick Street
A roughly 15-metre oak tree, pictured here along the 800-block of Oliver Street, toppled on the rainy evening of Thursday, June 9, and took residential power lines and clear access along this pathway from St. Patrick Street with it. (Evert Lindquist/News Staff)

An oak tree that once towered roughly 50 feet met its demise along Oliver Street on a bright and rainy Thursday evening, taking power lines and clear access along a public pathway with it.

Oak Bay Fire Department responded to a call around 8:30 p.m. on June 9 and learned the tree had fallen in the 800-block of Oliver Street between Central Road and McNeill Avenue, according to Acting Assistant Chief John Ballantyne.

Following correspondence with BC Hydro, he said the old oak had dislodged residential electrical lines and tumbled off private property but hadn’t disturbed the circuit breaker.

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“The biggest problem for us is power lines,” Ballantyne said, referencing the “summer pop-off” the department deals with annually.

He added it’s rare for older trees to go down but invited residents to come admire the fallen tree, which as of 11 a.m. Friday (June 10) continues to lie where it landed, impeding access from St. Patrick Street to Monterey Middle School.

Chris Hyde-Lay, Oak Bay parks services manager, said the tree suffered from shoestring root rot.

“You really want to keep an eye out for pests and diseases,” he said, noting the unusual amount of rain in recent months has also been a factor.

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Hyde-Lay advised residents to consult an arborist about their trees and only water them monthly. He added that the Garry oak in particular is a “relatively good tree for drought tolerance.”

“Just manage it as you manage your roof.”


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