This week’s furor over the toppling of a pair of large trees in Fort Langley is not so much about those trees as the need for a comprehensive, effective, and rational tree bylaw to cover all of the Township of Langley.
A reasonable bylaw would probably not have made a difference to the two giant spruces that were felled in front of the former Birthplace of B.C. Gallery by former Township mayor Kurt Alberts.
Some of the native trees we get around here, particularly the Douglas firs and Sitka spruces, have a tendency to outgrow our urban and suburban environments – which is precisely the reason Alberts gave for removing the behemoths.
Let’s be clear, however, he didn’t have to explain himself.
Without a tree bylaw in place, it wouldn’t matter whether any of his neighbours liked it or not.
Whatever motives any Township residents may have for toppling trees, large or small, in their neighbourhoods are inconsequential.
Whether the trees being toppled are healthy or unhealthy, whether they pose a perceived danger, or are simply seen as an annoyance to a landowner who wants a better view or has grown tired of sweeping dead pine needles off their driveway, whether they are in the way of a value-added project or they are being harvested for the value of their wood… it doesn’t matter.
It is the trees’ owner’s business, and no one else’s, as long as there is no tree bylaw in place to regulate, maintain, or limit culling of our urban forest.
However, it should also be clear that, while a bylaw is sorely needed, it is important that every citizen’s concerns are addressed.
Not every tree can or should live forever.