Langley Advance Times is offering this weekly feature called “At Your Service.”
It’s another forum in which to put questions to our local politicians about key issues facing our community and its residents.
Using a basic question-and-answer format, elected officials will be asked one question at a time and given the opportunity to respond (to a maximum of 250 words) on that said issue.
Alternating between elected groups, Langley City and Langley Township councils, Langley School Board, Langley MLAs, and Langley MPs each have a chance to participate.
The answers provided will be published in their entirety online Sundays.
Langley MLAs were asked: Should the provincial government provide support for landowners wishing to reforest suburban and rural lands, in areas like Langley, as part of the fight against climate change?
Abbotsford South MLA Bruce Banman
A. Throughout 2021, we witnessed a horrific wave of climate emergencies and disasters. From the heat dome to the wildfires, to the floods that swept through the Sumas Prairie, the effects of climate change are very real and all around us.
In rural regions, climate disasters have damaged and destroyed thousands of tonnes of crops, which is why farmers and residents have a vested interest in fighting climate change to prevent future catastrophes.
As a region that is home to the most fertile soil in all of Canada, it is the recovery of our soil and replanting of the crops lost in the heatwave and floods that is the top priority for many in the Fraser Valley.
We have a responsibility to protect our farmers’ jobs and land, so they can grow food that keeps our grocery stores stocked and people fed.
In our urban centres, increasing greenspace and natural foliage must be a key element of our urban development in both the short and long term.
This will not only help with the fight against climate change, but it will make our communities less vulnerable to heat-related emergencies.
Government must support and continue to look for creative ways to help mitigate the effects of climate change, protect and prepare our communities for future climate events, and build a greener British Columbia for all.
Abbotsford West MLA Michael de Jong
A. Climate change is without a doubt one of the biggest issues facing B.C. and we will need to develop new and innovative ways to address the significant impacts it will have on our province.
In B.C. we have noticed a significant increase in climate-related disasters in the last few years, including wildfires, floods, and heatwaves.
As we saw during last summer’s devastating heat dome, communities which have significantly less greenspace and natural foliage, are more vulnerable to the impacts of rising temperatures, and tragically experienced higher rates of heat-related deaths.
As such, we can see that adequate greenspace is incredibly vital to communities, not just for aesthetic reasons, but also for its positive effects on climate, health and safety.
It is obvious that as we plan our cities and communities for the future, we must incorporate greenspace and natural foliage into places where people live, while we also work to address the increasing need for greater housing supply and densification to improve affordability and create more livable communities.
Creating incentives that will promote suburban and rural reforestation within the private sector represents a renewable, responsible, and affordable approach to the challenges of climate change.
Langley-East MLA Megan Dykeman
A.Our government’s rehabilitation strategy has a strong focus on replanting, whether it be areas that have been victim to wildfires or replacing harvested forests.
I hope landowners will agree that replanting these forests is one of the best ways we can mitigate the impacts of climate change.
By the time they are grown, one million trees planted today can have the greenhouse gas benefit of removing 42,000 cars from the road a year, and in 2022 we plan to have 5,000 tree-planters plant nearly 247 million trees in British Columbia’s Interior, and 18 million on the Coast.
Any landowners who wish to learn more about replanting on their own private land, can contact my office (at 604-882-3151 or email megan.dykeman.MLA@leg.bc.ca) or the Ministry of Forest, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations.
Langley MLA Andrew Mercier
A. We know that replanting trees and rebuilding forest health is essential in our fight against climate change, and we must all do our part.
Our government’s priority is replanting harvested areas and those large areas ravaged by wildfires and pests. This includes any Crown Land burned in last year’s wildfires.
The one billion trees we have planted since 2018, including 301 million in 2021, will increase the carbon-capture capacity of our forests and reduce long-term emissions in British Columbia.
We encourage landowners to do the same by replanting on their lots and when replanting, protect the biodiversity of our forests by planting a mix of native tree species in B.C.
For more information don’t hesitate to reach out to my office at 604-514-8206, or via email: andrew.mercier.MLA@leg.bc.ca.
Next week, Langley’s MPs are being asked: Given the significant number of shootings in Langley, and around the Lower Mainland lately, what measures can the federal government take to help local and regional law enforcement reduce violent gang activity?
Watch for the politicians’ answers online Sundays.