Odd Thoughts: ‘Interim’ Langley Township tree protection bylaw lacking trust

Where does the concept of property ownership fit in the tree protection debate?

Langley Township still doesn’t have a tree bylaw.

A proposed interim bylaw failed to win a majority at the council table.

Bad news… or good news?

As someone who has recently spent a fortune on maintaining the trees in my yard, I’m somewhere in between.

I did kind of like most of the interim bylaw. It would have allowed me to make reasonable decisions about how and when to deal with my few trees, but would have offered protection to neighbourhoods with healthy blocks of forest.

But that word “interim” meant something else was coming, and I don’t trust either side of the evenly divided council to come up with a sensible final bylaw.

I might have sided with the pro-tree group until I read some social media comments by ring-leader Councillor Kim Richter. She peddled the fluff that we don’t actually own our trees – they’re only on loan to us. And her minions made reference to our need for trees to make our oxygen.

That scares me. I’m not sure those folks understand the legal concept of ownership. And I know they don’t have a clue about the science of respiration and transpiration – the processes involved in the consumption and production of breathable oxygen by plants.

The trees in my yard have an aesthetic quality that appeals to me, and they make the birds that feast on detrimental bugs in my garden feel at home. They do a lot of good things that keep them from getting stacked in the woodshed.

But 70 per cent of the world’s oxygen comes from aquatic plants and organisms that live in the oceans. And while trees do provide a substantial portion of the other 30 per cent, the handful in my neighbourhood make up only a tiny bit of a tiny bit of a percentage point of all the world’s trees.

All the world’s dandelions probably produce more oxygen than all the trees in Langley. And in this municipality, dandelions, despite being better for bees than a perfect green lawn, are classified as a noxious weed whose eradication could legally be ordered by a council whose members apparently do not understand the concept of property ownership.

So I don’t feel secure entrusting the future of my trees to Richter’s environmental communism, or to Mayor Jack Froese’s develop everythingism.

But they’re both welcome to my dandelions.

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