Editor: The following is an open letter to the mayor and council of Langley Township:
My name is Cheryl Moore and I have resided in Fort Langley for 12 years. I have been employed as a professional landscape designer for 20 years and have had a lifelong love of plants and trees.
I am astounded and appalled at the free-for-all removal of trees in the Township of Langley. At the rate of development that is happening in Langley Township, one would expect that our elected officials and planning staff would be thoughtful and progressive and examine all aspects of developing successful and livable neighbourhoods, including protection of stands of mature trees and other trees in the Township.
I have firsthand experience working within other municipalities’ tree bylaws, including the City of Surrey, Burnaby and Vancouver.
In my opinion, they are extremely easy to understand and comply with. There are staff members to contact, flexibility within the guidelines to remove and replace trees and the presence of these tree bylaws alerts all residents that the free-for-all cutting of trees is not to be tolerated.
In the Township of Langley, if trees are being dropped by chainsaws, it is just the way it goes.
Two weeks ago I drove in to Fort Langley along 88 Avenue and I was devastated to see the northwest corner of Trattle Street and 88 Avenue clear cut of seven trees.
This beautiful, mature stand of trees was loved by many in the neighbourhood and they were admired by many who visit Fort Langley. I never failed to admire the large copper beech that was on Township property in my daily walks with my dog.
The old oak that was on the Fortis right of way was a healthy, majestic tree.
In fact, all seven of these trees were healthy trees and all except one were on the perimeter of the property. One of the trees was not on the property at all and the beech, which possibly shared a corner of the lot being developed was well out of any allowable area where a house would be built. It is a fact that in any of the other aforementioned municipalities, most of these trees would not have been allowed to be removed, a new home would have been easily constructed on the lot and the trees would live on.
Although there was an attempt by concerned neighbours to have common sense prevail with the company that was cutting the trees and also, a very unfortunate situation trying to contact a bylaw officer, all the trees were cut to the ground, the logs cut to shipping size and removed and sold for profit.
There are many other examples of lots that have been clear cut in Fort Langley. The loss of our beautiful mature trees is accelerating and will not stop unless a tree protection bylaw is enacted.
There are so many reasons to protect our mature trees, I am sure each counsel member could come up with a reason to preserve trees. Have you noticed that mature trees need little extra watering? No water bags sitting around the bottom of these trees. They are established, and contributing to the quality of our environment in so many ways.
It is time for council and staff to quickly enact a tree protection bylaw for the Township of Langley. In other municipalities I know developers that consider Langley Township as “the wild west.”
In my neighbourhood, a well-known builder has stated that Langley Township is very lax. Time to get with it.
I would love to see a beautiful, mature replacement tree planted on the corner of Trattle and 88 Avenue in Fort Langley. Perhaps it could be dedicated as a symbol of a new commitment to the preservation of our trees. I recently was at a local Langley specimen tree grower, he had some amazing mature Gingko trees dug and ready for sale. This would be an appropriate tree to plant for size
and the Gingko tree is a symbol of long life and knowledge.