A lack of communication took place between Telus and South Surrey residents along King George Boulevard, as Telus started topping trees in the process of laying fibre-optic line along the roadway.
While the work is in accordance with City of Surrey policy, Telus’ own policy dictates that neighbours be advised ahead of time.
“It’s our policy to communicate with residents when work will be happening in their neighbourhood,” Telus spokesperson Liz Sauvé told Peace Arch News via email Monday.
“Usually we do this by sending letters to residents in advance of the work beginning. In this case, our policy wasn’t followed and these residents didn’t receive our letters, and for that we greatly apologize.”
Sauvé said Telus will be working to ensure proper communication is followed in future.
South Surrey resident Camille Charron said he had learned from a neighbour that Telus was in the process of cutting the tops of trees off across the roadway south of 16 Avenue, and he was concerned with the lack of notification.
“I went out there and I said, ‘hey, why are you chopping (the treetops) down?’” Charron told PAN.
“It would have been nice to have common courtesy. At least let me know – knock on the door, tell me that you’re doing this – it would have been nice to have you tell me why you’re doing it.”
Charron was also concerned because of heritage trees in the area.
According to Owen Croy, Surrey’s manager of parks, all the work that Telus was doing along the roadway was in accordance with policy, and that it was not a city requirement for Telus to notify nearby residents because the work was on city-owned property.
“We have observed all of the trees and the hedges in the area, and here is the conclusion we’ve come to: the city has designated heritage oak trees along that route and they did a very small amount of pruning on one of them, and the pruning that they used for line clearance for their Telus fibre-optic line was in accordance with international pruning standards,” Croy said.
The work was done because of a $250-million investment to bring Telus’s high-speed PureFibre Internet network to Surrey, which requires construction work across the city.
“This is a massive undertaking, and requires construction work throughout the community to either string the fibre aerially along the shared BC Hydro and Telus poles, and sometimes to bury the fibre underground.” Sauvé said.