How many Township residents realize that there is no protection afforded to our trees on non-ALR lands?
Not many, I suspect.
I only discovered there was none last week as I reacted to a new neighbour clearcutting his newly acquired 4.5 acre lot.
Virtually overnight, the property which recently sold, had 50 to 100 mature conifers cut, followed by bulldozers removing the stumps and roots, and then, beginning on Friday evening, a 48-hour burn pile that removed the last traces of what had recently been a serene rural property.
The existing home (which appeared inhabitable) was bulldozed also, leaving nothing above ankle height on the entire property. How sad… what a waste. I felt deflated as I realized how easily this could happen to virtually any property in the Township.
To make matters worse, it took place in the midst of the bird breeding season. This area, south of Campbell Valley Park, has abundant woodpeckers, hawks, falcons,owls, hummingbirds and more. How many nest sites were casualties of the chainsaws?
My sadness turned to outrage when the two ‘For Sale’ signs went up. I quickly learned that the buyer of the property a) was a real estate investment company; b) had no connection to the community; c) had no intention of ever living on the property; and, d) had relisted the property as two soon-to-be-formed strata lots, hoping to make a very substantial profit (less the cost of clearcutting, of course) in the process.
This stratification is happening in several areas of the Township as greedy developers with zero interest in the nature or character of well-established rural areas are coming in and showing complete disregard for sustainable development.
The ability to stratify these acreage lots appears to be a loophole from a 1979 zoning bylaw regulation designed to allow farming families to house several generations on their farmland, or to house farm workers.
This bylaw never anticipated quick six-figure profits to real estate ‘developers’, nor for clear-cutting and burning of mature forests, and the construction of 5,000-plus sq. ft. monster homes with manicured lawns. Yet this trend is shaping up to be the ‘next big thing’ for developers and builders.
Before this stratification gets out of control, I encourage the Township to effect a bylaw amendment to shut this loophole down before any more senseless clearcutting and bulldozing takes place in the Township’s rural neighbourhoods. While they’re at it, how about a tree protection bylaw for non-ALR lands at the same time? After all, it’s 2016….
Brian Coote, South Langley