Kits Renter fights for Real Christmas Tree

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Kitsilano resident Tracy Wallace’s Christmas wish might not be granted. She wants a live tree in her rental apartment to celebrate the holidays, but the building’s management company bans real trees as a fire hazard.

Wallace, who lives with her boyfriend at 2336 York Avenue, says data she collected from the provincial Office of the Fire Commissioner suggests two fires were caused by real Christmas trees over the past five years in B.C. – the same number caused by artificial trees in the same time period.

The couple received a memo from Wall Financial Corporation, which manages their apartment building, outlining its policy in November. The policy has been in place for all its properties for more than 20 years and Wallace wants it updated and elicited the Vancouver Sun to help out.

Wallace said her building allows smoking, which she calls a far greater fire hazard. She wants Wall Financial to update its tree policy to reflect what she considers minimal risk. “They can always say, if you’re going to have a [real] tree then you have to make sure you don’t drop needles and they can certainly demand you have a lighting system purchased in the last five years,” she said.

Wallace argues real trees are better for the environment than artificial ones, pointing to advice from the David Suzuki Foundation, which sees trees cultivated for Christmas as a better choice than artificial ones. Bill Vigars, Wall Financial spokesman, said the company is putting safety first because it can’t guarantee tenants will properly water real trees. He said most other apartment management companies have the same rule.

The no real trees policy in Kits apartment rentals seems pretty standard – any exceptions out there?

Last modified: December 12, 2009

2 Responses to " Kits Renter fights for Real Christmas Tree "

  1. Gerry says:

    Obviously when you rent, there are rules to abide to. If she doesn’t like it, she can always move to another apartment or condo that allows real trees. Problem solved.

  2. Bill Barilko says:

    My guess is that she’s never tried to vacuum the needles from a half dead conifer out of a hallway carpet, or make that a dozen half dead conifers that have been dragged along the carpet on the way to the dumpster.