Editor: It is with great interest and puzzlement that I read news reports of plans to debate a restriction on tree cutting in Brookswood. Last time I checked, Brookswood was just as much part of Langley as were Walnut Grove, Aldergrove, Murrayville and all places in between.
Surely, Langley Township council will not seriously consider singling out Brookswood property owners by only taking property rights away from them, while not batting an eyelash at clear cutting elsewhere. So why is the bylaw only aimed at Brookswood?
The puzzling part of all of this is twofold. First, it appears that council has just said no to development in Brookswood, so it would seem logical that it is all the other areas of Langley, except Brookswood, that may need tree cutting restrictions. If developers will not be active here, concern shifts to the other areas.
Second, an argument is made that Brookswood has so many trees that cutting trees there ought to be restricted. Logically, if Brookswood has an abundance of trees, should it not be all the other neighbourhoods that ought to have cutting restrictions, but not Brookswood?
Most people would be much more concerned if someone in Willoughby or Aldergrove took down one of (or clear cut) the few remaining trees there, than if a few trees in Brookswood come down.
As an aside, one would hope that when considering restricting property rights, particularly of current residents, council will also take into account that many people in Brookswood love having trees on their own property, despite the many extra costs associated with maintaining and repairing property as a result of having the trees.
There are also residents who plant more trees than they take down. If Brookswood residents cannot enjoy their private property on an equal basis with other residents of Langley, and council does go the illogical route of restricting the cutting of trees only in Brookswood, fairness would dictate major property tax reductions for Brookswood residents. This would compensate for the extra costs of having trees and probably in many cases, loss of property value.
I urge councillors not to make any knee-jerk decisions, even as “interim” measures. Property rights are restricted enough, and we should always be on guard against those who want to regulate and control every aspect of the lives of others, including basic property rights.
Cos Van Wermeskerken,