The overnight storm on Oct. 22 was yet another reminder of the danger to life, limb and property to which South Surrey is exposed each year between now and February.
Downed limbs and trees knocked out both power and telephone land lines – for up to 18 hours in our neighbourhood – and made many roads in South Surrey barely navigable; students lost yet another day of school due to cancelled classes; many home businesses were forced to “lay down tools” and suffer a day’s loss of income; javelin-like fir limbs speared some unfortunate homeowners’ roofs.
Imagine the hardship on house-bound seniors, had this storm hit during sub-zero temperatures.
And don’t for a minute think that a giant wind storm similar to the one that produced that extensive blow-down in Stanley Park a few years back couldn’t happen in South Surrey. Our area is particularly susceptible to strong winds off Mud Bay, and such a storm here could have disastrous consequences.
Most of these unpleasant side-effects of our fall and winter storms could be avoided if city hall were to show a little common sense regarding its restrictive tree-cutting policy. Isn’t it about time we allowed BC Hydro the latitude to actually remove trees adjacent to power lines rather than simply pollarding – making a cutout – around the lines?
And how about giving homeowners the freedom to protect themselves and their property by allowing, for example, the cutting of one tree a year – as is the case in neighbouring municipalities – without having to go through the expensive rigmarole of hiring an arborist, buying a licence, posting a bond and committing to planting two for every one removed?
It might even save a few bucks at city hall by making redundant half the tree-bylaw staff.
Chris Hodgson, Surrey
• • •
The power outages last week probably inconvenienced a lot of people. On the bright side, however, they slowed traffic down to a crawl – due to many traffic lights being out – and the situation forced drivers to notice things that they normally fly by without seeing.
For example, the speed limit signs. Surprise!
Yep, the power outages likely saved a lot of drivers a lot of speeding tickets – or worse.
Jerry Steinberg, Surrey