Tom Godwin and his dog Nubi

Tom Godwin and his dog Nubi

Tom Godwin dies at 75

Leader in Surrey's environmental movement led by example

A leader in Surrey’s environmental movement has died.

Tom Godwin, a long-term member of the city’s Environmental Advisory Committee and founding member of Surrey Environmental Partners, died peacefully on Tuesday morning at Surrey Memorial Hospital.

Godwin had been suffering from an undetermined neurological condition.

He was 75.

Godwin had been a powerhouse on the City of Surrey’s Environmental Advisory Committee until Oct. 20, 2004, when he tendered his resignation.

“We have all watched the vast areas of clearcutting of large old trees going on in our community, the rows on rows of box housing, inadequate storm water management and the total lack of any environmental input,” Godwin wrote in his Oct. 16 resignation letter to committee chair Dr. Roy Strang.

what I have seen go on in Surrey just makes me want to cry. Having an advisory committee, even though impotent, somehow gives this mad rush of development legitimacy and I can’t be part of that.

Godwin touched a nerve with the public, creating a huge outcry.

The result was a complete revamping of the city’s tree protection bylaw that now stands as one of the strongest of its kind in the region.

Godwin, also a cardiologist and author, practised what he preached.

On his 85-acre parcel of property in Tynehead, he planted well over 10,000 trees, created a lake, and helped preserve a salmon stream running through it.

Asked why he went to all the trouble, Godwin responded: “Isn’t it the right thing to do?”

Longtime friend Dr. Roy Strang describes Godwin as extremely authentic.

“He was sincere about his passion for the environment,” Strang says. “He wasn’t just paying it lip service.

To secure its future, he applied to have his property rezoned from residential to agriculture.

He is survived by his wife Elaine, a brother, four sons and 10 grandchildren.