Letter: Brookswood trees belong to homeowners

Dear Editor,

Most property owners of Brookswood/Fernridge probably aren’t aware of the oppressive measures to control their trees in the draft Community Plan, given two readings on Feb. 3 and sent back for another open house for public input.

The punitive measures have not been up front in the public presentations to date.

The tree lobby pressured council to enact a tree-cutting bylaw back around 2005.

A bylaw was prepared and went to a public information meeting at the Brookswood fire hall in 2007. It was so restrictive and cost-punishing, that residents rejected it and council wisely axed it.

Now it’s back, even more intolerable, within the draft Community Plan, in the form of Development Permit Area D, which covers all of Brookswood/Fernridge.  

It also ties it all into the onerous Subdivision & Development Bylaw, which defines “Significant Tree” as basically most common species, over three metres (10 feet) high, regardless of trunk diameter.

This overkill will treat existing homeowners like big developers, where they have to submit detailed plans prepared by expensive BC Land Surveyors, arborists, and landscape architects for one-lot single-building or small projects.   

It appears the whole process is overkill, intended to make it unaffordable and difficult. It could cost a taxpaying homeowner up to $8,000 – and months – just to get through the development permit, then building permit process before even hiring someone to remove a tree.

Large trees have a big residential maintenance cost, like cleaning gutters once a month, storm damage to roofs and vehicles (with scary 300-pound branches falling), root damage to pavement, and constant cleanup.

We should be able to enjoy the use of private property we pay taxes on, trees or no trees, and disturbing the ground (clearing brush, etc.) should be our decision, not bureaucrats’.

Some of us would like to see a little more sunshine and open sky by removing or topping some of our trees. It can be depressing, long winters in the constant shadows, and I don’t think the tree lobby should be depriving us of some natural vitamin D sunshine.

Tall trees may reflect the image of the area, pre-development, but let’s be honest, it’s illusionary to think that you can transform rural to urban, build dense housing, and still have tall trees dominate the form and character.

Who’s trees are they? As a private property taxpayer, I do not see it as my responsibility to provide free trees for others.

Nothing prevents someone from purchasing land, growing their own trees, and paying the taxes.

It’s bureaucracy unhinged. We need council to resist the tree lobby and stand up for our property rights.

Roland Seguin, Fernridge

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