Letter: Langley Township trees need to be protected

Michelle Connerty believes needs to make 'some quick and real changes to protect our beautiful Township, its trees and its wildlife.'

Dear Editor,

I was present at the Township of Langley council meeting on Monday, May 30, 2016.

It was discussed between Petrina Arnason and staff that if “significant trees” are removed during construction either on purpose or otherwise there is no provision to fine the developer/builder/land owner. The tree(s) must be replaced, however no monetary penalty will be assessed or so I understood from the discussion.

This is my transcription of the meeting from the video, which is on the TOL website:

Rezoning Application No. 100436

Kooner / 3492 205 Street

Bylaw No. 5204

Bylaw No. 5219

Motion by: Whitmarsh

Seconded by: Fox

Arnason: I noticed in the staff report there are some significant trees that have been protected by a restrictive covenant.  I’m wondering if staff could please advise whether or not we’ve come up with any kind of penalty for removal, premature removal of trees protected by restrictive covenant.

Staff: Your Worship, the penalties are currently as outlined in the Subdivision Development Servicing Bylaw which requires an increase in the number of trees that have to be replanted, based on the number of trees that have been prematurely removed. Again subject to the application proceeding to that stage.

Arnason: Because I had in the past asked for a staff report having a pecuniary amount or a fine attached to that.

Staff: That’s correct, your Worship. Those relate to development permits, and I believe in the case of Gloucester in the one that Councillor Arnason is referencing.

Arnason: That’s right.

Staff: In this case the proponents, the applicant, will have to comply with the provisions of the Subdivision Development Servicing Bylaw that requires protection of those trees. And if they are removed prematurely, there is a formula, I believe. I don’t recall what it is off the top of my head, but there is requirement for an extra number trees of trees to be planted.

Arnason: Thank you.

I, as a tax paying Citizen of the Township of Langley, am seriously offended that anyone who chooses to cut down a tree of any consequence can do so and only plant a new tree or two. I just searched though the entire Township website and could only find one single bylaw about clear cutting, and nothing else at all about trees – unbelievable.

The Township of Langley council needs to make some quick and real changes to protect our beautiful Township, its trees and its wildlife. What century are we living in? Have we learned nothing to date regarding environmental stewardship?

Surrey has an excellent tree bylaw that would be easy to apply and amend to use for Langley Township. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

We, as human beings, need to ensure that our planet stays healthy – trees are a large part of that equation not only for CO2/oxygen exchange, but also for living a livable life.

Michelle Connerty, Brookswood

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