Trees on South Hill bluff bulldozed by mistake

SPOKANE, Wash. – Dozens of trees were bulldozed along the South Hill bluff near the Qualchan Golf Course and several people said that never should have happened. Though, none of the organizations involved in a nearby project claimed responsibility.

An organization called the First Tee of the Inland Northwest wants to build a par three golf course at the Qualchan Golf Course where kids under the age of 18 can golf for free. If built, the par three course would be on land owned by the City of Spokane that is managed by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.

The par three course project was supposed to be approved by the parks department board at a meeting Thursday afternoon, but that approval was pushed back because of what happened to a section of conservation land along the bluff on South Hill.

A contractor bulldozed a road and removed trees. Although, an organization called Friends of the Bluff and the City Parks and Recreation Department both said that the removal never should happened.

“Mostly people just go and walk their dog, they look for peace and solace and they were rightly outraged when a bulldozer carved out a mile long path,” Friends of the Bluff’s Jim Wilson said.

“We’re still trying to figure out exactly ow this contractor believed he had authorization to come onto park property and build this road and remove trees,” Leroy Eadie with Spokane Parks and Recreation said.

The City Parks Department said the project still needed board approval, so work never should have started. The Parks Department said they did not hire a contractor and stopped the bulldozing as soon as they found out about it.

First Tee also said they did not hire a contractor because they were waiting for board approval, but did have a verbal agreement with Avista to share the cost of an access road because Avista has a project in that area coming up this Fall.

When KREM 2 reached out to Avista, they also said they had a verbal agreement to share the cost of the road with First Tee, but Avista said they also did not hire the contractor.  

At this point, nobody is taking responsibility and the Parks Director said they are still looking for answers.

“When approached, the contractor at least shared with me they were working for Avista and we’re still trying to figure out those two pieces,” Eadie said.

All three organizations involved said they are calling the removal a mistake. Friends of the Bluff said they want the trees replanted and the area returned to its natural state. 

© 2017 KREM-TV


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