EDITORIAL: Trees a hot-button issue

EDITORIAL: Trees a hot-button issue

When trees come down on the Semiahmoo Peninsula, people are going to ask questions.

When trees come down on the Semiahmoo Peninsula, people are going to ask questions.

That’s a simple fact of life that city staff, council members and private property owners need to get their heads around. If there are very good reasons for the pruning or removal of a tree, it behooves them to have answers at the ready, or expect expressions of outrage, rumours and suppositions – however accurate or inaccurate – to multiply.

In the recent case of two Douglas firs removed from city property in the 1200-block of Oxford Street in White Rock, there seems to be little doubt, from a consultant arborist’s report, that both trees were in an advanced state of decline, observed over years. Branches that dropped off frequently were posing a risk to surrounding properties, as well as streets, sidewalks and power lines.

Director of engineering and municipal operations, Jim Gordon, was no doubt acting for the best in deciding to have the trees removed. But while due diligence may have been done in providing written confirmation to property owners within 30 metres of the tree, council members were not informed – as they should have been, under city policy – until an hour after work started. When questions were asked, they were caught unprepared.

In another recent incident, it appears that private citizens trespassed on BNSF land on the hump to remove saplings that had started to grow where trees had been removed in 2015, and which now threaten their views. It should have come as no surprise that witnesses reported the action to city bylaw officers, or that the BNSF is investigating.

In an era when long-time scientific study of the crucial importance of tree canopy to health and well being – both locally and globally – is receiving daily confirmation, trees are a hot-button issue.

While it is easy to shrug off ‘tree huggers’ – or to ask who really cares about a few trees, here and there – there is every indication the tide is turning. More and more, people are realizing that the reduction of tree canopy, and the resulting disruption of ecosystems and wildlife has a very direct physical impact on their lives.

Reaction to clear-cutting of White Rock’s hump in 2015, or the destruction of a mature cottonwood eagle-nesting tree by unknown hands in South Surrey last summer, or reports that Surrey has approved the removal of 50,000 trees since last October are clear signals that the public cares.

And when people feel their interests are threatened, no one should be surprised when they turn to those they elected to protect them.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ben “Santa” Cohen visits Ecole Martha Currie in Cloverdale Dec. 4. Santa wished everyone a socially-distanced Merry Christmas out in front of the school. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Santa visits Ecole Martha Currie in Cloverdale

First gig of the season for Ben ‘Santa’ Cohen; COVID driving most gigs online

Shawn Canil, a Cloverdale-area resident, turns heads with the truck he’s decorated for Christmas. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Truck’s Christmas decorations lift spirits on Cloverdale man’s commute

‘When I see them smiling, I know it’s worth it,’ pickup driver Shawn Canil says

Gurbaz Singh, deli manager at the Cloverdale Country Market, arranges some gifts in the back of a vintage car. The car is part of the Cloverdale Country Market’s “December to Remember” picture taking area. The market is encouraging people to come down, snap some Christmas pics and share them on social media. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
PHOTOS: Cloverdale Country Market creates Christmas picture space

Market cancels annual Christmas Craft Fair, replaces it with Christmas picture zone

At least one person received life-threatening injuries when a car collided with a semi truck in South Surrey on Friday morning. (Brenda Anderson photo)
VIDEO: South Surrey crash sends one to hospital in critical condition

Road closures in effect after collison between car and semi-truck

teaser
Tweedsmuir ‘high flyer’ set to hit court with UFV women’s volleyball team

Recruit Sydney Wright says it’s ‘an exciting opportunity to help build the team in its new division’

Pickleball game in Vancouver on Sunday, November 8, 2020. B.C.’s public health restrictions for COVID-19 have been extended to adult team sports, indoors and outside. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
711 more COVID-19 cases detected in B.C. Friday

‘Virus is not letting up and neither can we’

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix wears a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19, during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, August 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
PHSA bought faulty respirators; spent money on catering, renovations: Dix

Such spending included ‘unnecessary, unbudgeted renovations’ to the authority’s headquarters in Vancouver

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan releases his election platform, Vancouver, Oct. 6, 2020, featuring COVID-19 relief payments promised for most households. (B.C. NDP photo)
Next $1.5 billion in B.C. COVID-19 cash ‘prudent,’ Horgan says

New round of paymens for household incomes up to $175,000

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

KIJHL games have been postponed through Dec. 31. (File photo)
KIJHL postpones all games through end of 2020

Due to provincial health orders, games up to Dec. 31 have been pushed back

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Former Kelowna social worker arrested for allegedly stealing from foster kids

Robert Riley Saunders was arrested in Alberta and will be brought back to B.C. to face charges

Joe Fast of Abbotsford is on dialysis four days a week and has issued a public plea for a kidney donor. (Submitted photo)
Abbotsford man with 5% kidney function is desperately in need of a live donor

Joe Fast has a rare blood type and hasn’t yet been able to find a transplant match

Melissa David, of Parachutes for Pets and her dogs Hudson and Charlie are trying to raise money for a homeless shelter that will allow pets and are seen in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘My only wish:’ Children asking pet charity to help their furry friends at Christmas

Parachutes for Pets says it has received 14 letters from children in the last week

Most Read