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Who owns a tree which straddles the property line between my house and my neighbours? Can I cut it down without their permission?
That was the issue which brought two neighbours before the provincial Superior Court twice last year, and again before the Court of Appeal in December.
Katherine Anne Hartley has a Norway maple tree growing in the back yard of her property. She took her neighbours to Superior Court in May, 2103, asking for a ruling that she was the sole owner of the tree. If granted, the court order would give her the sole right to cut down the tree on the basis it was unhealthy.
Her neighbours, Hilary Cunningham and Stephen Scharper, opposed the application. If the tree was jointly owned, both neighbours would have to consent to its removal — something Cunningham and Scharper were not prepared to do.