Re: Respect our tree bylaws, Nov. 27 letters.
Thank you, letter-writer Heidi Bumann, for taking the time to write with your concerns about the loss of trees in your community, and in particular the cutting down of trees by new owners.
Assuming that ignorance of Surrey’s tree bylaws is the problem, perhaps the city could institute an educational program for all real-estate agents operating in Surrey, spelling out the bylaw requirements, the importance of adherence to the regulations and the penalties for non-compliance.
At the same time, the city could initiate a communication program whereby all new owners receive a registered letter containing that same information.
A recent report from city staff noted that Surrey’s tree canopy – in all land outside the Agricultural Land Reserve – has shrunk from 33 per cent in 2001 to 30 per cent in 2009, then to 27.17 per cent in 2013.
Not only is our tree canopy shrinking, it is doing so at an accelerating rate. This will come as no surprise to anyone who travels around the city on a regular basis, but reinforces the need for immediate action by the city.
The Sustainability Charter included a target of 40 per cent tree canopy by 2058. Tick, tick, tick.
Considering how slowly most newly planted trees grow, conservation of existing trees is preferable to tree replacement.
We need to come up with incentives that will encourage tree preservation, possibly through a property tax credit similar to the Homeowner’s Grant; the carrot often works better than the stick.
Bill Stewart, Surrey