The death of a chestnut tree set off 'whodunnit' in Oak Bay and resulted in an admission and settlement in a case of tree poisoning.

The large tree was cut down Tuesday.

Homeowner Sharon Krebs lives next to the tree and first noticed its leaves wilting and turning brown back in May.

"That was just so weird because that's not something that happens in the spring," said Krebs.

Krebs said she noticed several drill holes in it and suspects something was injected into the holes to kill it.

"There are serious consequences to taking a tree like that down," she said. "It's one thing if it's a storm and it just happens but this was a big tree with a huge canopy making a lot of oxygen, taking a lot of carbon out of the air, and it's gone because someone found it inconvenient or wantingly decided to poison it."

Other neighbourhood residents like Wynne Miles said they were sad to see the tree go.

"I've heard of that happening before in Vancouver," she said. "That would be very sad and I'd hope that would be dealt with within the bylaw."

According to the district, the guilty party has agreed to pay $48,350 for the removal and replacement of the damaged tree. It will not disclose the person’s identity.

“This was a very disturbing incident and we took the appropriate action to resolve the matter,” said Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen. “The amount collected should send a strong message to everyone that we are serious about protecting and enhancing our urban forest in Oak Bay and that there are serious consequences for this type of behaviour.”

A replacement tree for Beach Drive will be selected based on available stock, growth potential and associated benefit to the urban tree canopy.