Open letter to the Township of Langley mayor and councillors,
The Langley Township Climate Action Strategy contains many valuable strategies for combating climate change. One of the strategies involves saving our tree canopy, relating only to green ways and parks, but most of the trees lost in the Township are due to development. Council has formed a Tree Advisory Committee with very knowledgeable caring members, but their mandate does not involve looking at the Subdivision and Development Servicing Bylaw which governs trees lost to development.
The development bylaw does say that for every tree removed more need to be planted to replace that tree, but really, cutting down a 30-foot tree and replacing it with a three foot tree that is so totally cramped, as in Willoughby, that it will never have the space to grow to 30 feet is a definite problem. There are major concerns for Willoughby, plans for development in Brookswood/Fernridge and now even in Aldergrove when new subdivisions are developed on what was once green space and trees are removed not enough land is left. Also, when older homes are demolished and new homes built no space is left on the property for larger trees.
This needs to stop. Look out other communities in the Township of Langley! When older homes are demolished the new developments do not leave enough room for trees on the properties. If this is allowed to continue all Township of Langley communities will look like Willoughby.
There is research that shows that urban trees and forests save lives due to their ability to remove particulates from the air which can cause heart and lung disease. Langley has many aquifers from which drinking water is obtained and trees filter the water as well as act as flood control. Trees clean the air through carbon sequestration trapping carbon dioxide which also helps to cool the Earth. Some studies show that trees are even responsible for reducing crime since they are calming. Several studies have found that access to nature yields better cognitive functioning, more self-discipline and greater mental health. Trees lower the temperature which is extremely important in this time of global warming. By protecting trees, we also save all of the other plants and animals they shelter encouraging biodiversity. Overall, trees make an area more attractive for living and working.
The Township of Langley council has passed the Tree Bylaw showing that they do understand the importance of trees, but they need to go further and save more trees on land that is being developed or redeveloped. The Township cannot allow developers to use so much of their property for building that there is no room left for trees to grow.
When adopting the Climate Action Strategy Township council stated that it is a living document and can be added to when needed. The need is now to save trees and promote leaving the space within developments for trees to grow.
I encourage the mayor and councillors to drive around to view the developments that they have passed inside council chambers and from within their homes during Zoom meetings to see the results of their actions. I do not know when the bylaws or zoning changed, but the evidence is there. Newer housing has no space for trees on their property. We need five councillors to vote to change this now before anymore properties are entirely taken up with concrete.
As Joni Mitchell sings, “…you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”
Dianne Kask, Aldergrove
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