Last Friday afternoon, an elderly gentleman was enjoying a peaceful moment in Paddlewheel Park. He sat on a bench under a soaring cottonwood, watching the Fraser River with his dog, when a giant branch came crashing down from above and crushed him.
I witnessed this incident from my front porch. I witnessed his fatal crush injuries and spoke to him as he lay there, unable to respond; bleeding but still breathing. When paramedics arrived, I walked to his home with his dog to inform his wife that her husband was gravely injured. The sheer panic on her face I will not forget. He did not survive.
Here is the rub. This is not just some freak accident.
Two weeks ago to the day, another giant branch fell in the exact same place. The city came and cleaned it up. Over the two years, myself and neighbours have called the city countless times, warning them that the giant cottonwood trees in Paddlewheel Park are dropping branches and need to be trimmed.
Nothing has been done. And now, a man is dead.
And it is directly because of the inaction of our city.
Editor’s Note: City senior communications officer Mike Kellett said city staff are looking into the fatal incident.
“The City of Prince George offers its condolences to the family and friends of the man who died over the weekend after an incident at Paddlewheel Park,” said Kellet in a prepared statement. “The city is reviewing the matter, and is not able to comment further until the investigation into the incident is complete.”