BC Hydro says St. Bartholomew's in Gibsons should chop the trees - but the parish isn't sure it should.

The parish council has asked an arborist to determine the health of the four tall Douglas firs on church property.

Trees at the corner of Gibsons Way and North Road on property of St. Bartholomew’s, Gibson’s, may have to come down to protect BC Hydro lines. Jack Carlson photo

The utility company is concerned that if the trees fell they would come crashing down on lines that deliver most of the electrical power to the Sunshine Coast community, and also threaten traffic on the busy corner of Gibsons Way and North Road.

The issue of the trees is a difficult one for the parish, which could face the expense of periodically pruning the trees-using up money that could otherwise be spent on ministry. On the other hand many in the parish and the community would hate to see them go, for they're a treasured local landmark.

Dick Williams, the architect involved 11 years ago in the enlargement of the church, which included restoration of the original 1892 building as a chapel to a larger worship space, wants the power lines put underground. BC Hydro says that would cost over a quarter of a million dollars.

Jack Carlson, a trustee of St. Bartholomew's, said the decision to ask for an arborist's report was made by parish council last month. It would have to be "a fairly negative report" before the council would decide to chop the trees down - despite BC Hydro's offer to remove them and contribute $1,000 to replant new trees. The emotional and spiritual significance of the trees is very important to the parish, he said.