The next time someone trims the trees on the edge of his property, Kevin Porter would appreciate a heads up.
“The trees are close to the edge of the property, so they run near where the wires are,” said the West Devon resident, who’s home is located on Route 2.
Around the beginning of September, trees along the highway in West Devon were trimmed, including in front of Mr Porter’s property. He thought at first it was Maritime Electric who carried out the work, but was later told from a neighbour, who also had trees trimmed on their property, it was possibly a crew working for the internet provider company Xplornet.
Mr Porter said he understands when it comes to protecting infrastructure like electrical wires that trimming trees is necessary.
“I don’t want to see any power go out or there being any kind of interruption to any kind of service,” he said.
Mr Porter’s home was the childhood house of his wife and the couple purchased the property from her parents about 17 years ago.
The trees on his property have been trimmed in the past, with Mr Porter recalling the first time it happened, many years ago, someone from Maritime Electric had actually took the time to tell him before the work was carried out.
“I remember him coming to the house just saying listen we’re going to do some work on your trees and we’re going to do the best we can so they don’t look ugly or whatever,” said Mr Porter. “I really appreciated that.”
Mr Porter said he would have appreciated if something similar had happened this time around.
“A heads up would have been nice,” he said. “It just feels a little heavy handed.”
The Graphic first reached out to Maritime Electric, who confirmed it wasn’t any of their crews who did the work. The Graphic then contacted Xplornet, who confirmed in an email they had carried out the work through a contractor qualified to ‘execute the procedure following the guidelines provided by Maritime Electric Co. and Bell Canada’.
The province of PEI has contracts with Xplornet and Bell to bring wireless and fibre internet services to the Island.
“It is the norm when deploying aerial fibre to prepare sites and perform the ‘make safe’ procedures, which includes tree trimming around the power lines, before the fibre installation can be,” stated the email. “This is a requirement imposed to us in every jurisdiction we operate.”
The email from Xplornet said the company is committed to providing Internet service to over 20,000 rural homes and business in over 300 communities in PEI by the end of 2023.
“In the case of PEI, Xplornet followed the strict guidelines imposed by the Maritime Electric Co. regarding the specific distance and shape to trim off trees depending of the poll structure,” continued the email. “At all time, Xplornet and its contractor followed the Maritime Electric Co., and Bell Canada polices and specifications for tree trimming for over 100 km of fibre installation.”
The spokesperson who sent the email isn’t aware if Mr Porter or other residents were notified about the tree trimming prior to the work being carried out.
“I can’t remember a letter coming in, or maybe there was something in the newspaper, maybe there was something on social media that said we’re going to be doing work along people’s property... I don’t know, maybe they did, but I don’t remember us getting something personally,” said Mr Porter.
The irony isn’t lost on Mr Porter either because the Internet in his area is very poor and at the moment he can’t even access the towers the Xplornet uses for their service.
“We can’t get fibre, we can’t get cable,” he said. “I’m 10 minutes from O’Leary and we’re on the main highway… If this was Xplornet, I can’t even get what they are offering.”
Mr Porter said the crews who did the tree trimming cleaned everything up once they finished, but the appearance of the trees after the work was completed is another matter.
“When I look at some sections compared to other sections, they seem to be pretty bare,” he said.
But Mr Porter reiterated the work was probably necessary.
“Just give people a heads up, just let them know,” he said. “Communication can go along way.”