City obliged to maintain value


Re: Personal gains not the priority, May 27 letters.

For those who propose governance in an equitable manner, I assume you propose we all pay the same tax rate, that our homes are all assessed equally regardless of market value.


Re: Personal gains not the priority, May 27 letters.

For those who propose governance in an equitable manner, I assume you propose we all pay the same tax rate, that our homes are all assessed equally regardless of market value.

Should the dumpy shack off the lane pay the same revenue to the city as the view home on the bluff?

Or, do you mean ‘equitable’ only when it suits you?

Municipalities assess property taxes based on many criteria, only one of which is view. There can be upwards of millions of dollars difference between two properties identical in every way, other than view quality. When there is a quantifiable value set on an asset, and when a private citizen stands to lose an asset’s value because it can’t be maintained through no fault of their own, the municipality has an obligation to maintain that value.

One alternative is to remove that view’s value from the equation. No city is going to do that and thereby reduce their tax base.

But they cannot have it both ways.

Litigations will ensue if the tree policy is deemed unreasonable. The city will lose; you will foot the bill.

If one was to believe the flawed, out-of-context math applied by letter-writer S. Watkins– “A single tree can have a 61 per cent rain interception rate, providing $25,000 to $35,000 to our (Storm Water Management) plan” – why have we not all floated away on the record-breaking rainfall this spring? There is far more development and less tree canopy now than in past years, when hillside ravines washed out.

Perhaps Watkins would like to be more specific on what tree species and what calliper would be capable of such numbers. Should the hillside have massive species of western red cedar and Douglas fir tucked between the houses?

About as ludicrous a suggestion as the touted facts that prompted it.

In the May 27 news article, Tree policy needs clarification: committee,  environmental committee chair Wilma Boyd emphasizes: “It needs to be clear that any healthy tree on city property will be staff’s and only staff’s choice as to how that tree is going to be dealt with.”

If that is a fair statement, substitute the words “city” for “private,” and “staff’s” for “homeowner’s.”

It might surprise those who regularly march on city hall that not everyone wants increased government regulations and interference in their private lives.

There are too many self-appointed gatekeepers these days, too keen on dictating how others should live: the hippie who comes to the protest in the exhaust-spewing van; the young mother who douses her home with anti-bacterial sprays, then shops organic-only; the environmentalists who chain themselves to trees for the sake of media coverage.

There are so many more-worldly causes worth fighting for other than whether your neighbour wants trees removed. Focus on industry and agriculture practices, for a start.

Can you not see the bigger picture?

Mother Nature is a resilient b—-! She has far more capacity for renewal than given credit for. Those of us who have devoted much of our lives to her, who put our knowledge into action, are simply fed up.

The best we can do is mind our business, with hopes others do the same.

P. Tyler, Surrey


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