Langley Township council passed a tree protection bylaw in 2019, but one resident says the municipality does not do enough to preserve valuable trees. (Black Press Media)

LETTER: Langley Township fails to protect enough trees, writer says

Resident said community should not cut trees then find man-made solutions to mitigate climate impact

Dear Editor,

I’m adding my voice to the concerns that John Elliot (March 25, 2021, Letter to the Editor) expressed about the on-going industrial logging taking place in the Township of Langley.

It’s oxymoronic and bad business to log Langley, and to destroy the ecological resilience that all of us benefit from, are part of, and that many of us moved here for.

My family moved to Langley 25 years ago. At the time, and to this day, many people move here because they enjoy the amenities and services that Langley, and its ecology offer.

Human-made amenities like shopping malls, parks, recreation centres, health care facilities, and restaurants have increased over the years. When I talk to people about what they love about Langley, they mention human-made amenities, and also mention their love for the creeks and streams, the wildlife, the fresh air, and, yes, the grand trees. While man-made amenities proliferate, the natural amenities are being reduced and degraded.

We all value human- and natural-amenities. If balance is maintained, they each add value to our lives, to our properties, and to ecology.

As trees are logged and land developed the human amenities increasingly outweigh the natural. This imbalance must be righted to avoid losing the benefits natural amenities provide, and to avoid unnecessarily spending future tax dollars.

As thriving second-growth ecology is displaced with human-made amenities, wildlife, and wildlife habitat, including protected rare and endangered species, also disappear. Air quality degrades because the trees are not absorbing emissions. Temperature variations become more extreme – remember how cool shady woods feel? The risk of flooding and damage due to high water flows also increases, as do many other adverse effects. Wouldn’t it make sense to leave nature in place to help us, rather than spend taxpayers’ dollars to engineer the solutions that nature already provides?

As John Elliot noted, Langley has policies to protect nature’s amenities – the Tree Protection Bylaw, the Sustainability Charter, the Wildlife Habitat Conservation Strategy, etc. In addition, the Langley Climate Action Strategy 2020-2030 describes the critical role trees play in climate change mitigation and adaptation. It also speaks of increasing tree plantings, and an objective to: “Maintain and expand a healthy tree canopy that will continue to thrive under future climate conditions.”

Logging in Langley goes directly against this stated objective. To address this oxymoronic approach to managing climate change, Langley must revise its Tree Protection Bylaw to protect more mature trees from removal, and to protect them with sufficient setbacks that support their ongoing survival. The Township has the authority to make this change. Why are we not protecting the large trees, and associated wildlife habitat?

If you need proof of Langley’s ineffective tree bylaw and misaligned ecological policies, count the logging trucks, count the tagged trees (not tagged for retention) adjacent Noel Booth pond and park… or compare the Google Earth imagery from 1980 to 2020. You might also wonder where the frogs, snakes, and protected species like the federally protected band-tailed pigeons have gone. Would you still move to Langley if the air didn’t smell fresh, there were no towering trees to walk amongst with your children, and if taxes continue to increase to add reactive infrastructure to replace squandered natural amenities?

John Emery, Brookswood


• READ MORE: More residents sound off about felling of 125-year-old Douglas fire in Aldergrove

• READ MORE: LETTER: Langley politicians happy to allow developers to cut down trees, letter writer argues

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