Photo by Tom Zytaruk

ZYTARUK: And just like that, Surrey’s trees disappear

Some consider it progress. Others, a path to peril

homelessphoto

So let it be written…

If you like trees, and oxygen, the following account of Surrey city council’s meeting this past Monday night might just take your breath away.

Some consider it progress. Others, a path to peril.

The meeting served up scads of mostly small land development applications after which Deb Jack, of Surrey Environmental Partners, made certain to remind the politicians the tally of trees each project would remove from this city if approved.

At seven minutes into the meeting, came the first. “On this site, 25 of 26 trees are to be killed off,” Jack tells council from her podium. Climate change, she notes, “is not a political issue, it’s a life issue.”

The second application was heard at 11 minutes. Jack is back on her feet. She’ll be out of her seat more often than faithful Catholics on a Sunday morning. “Seventy-six of 76 trees are going to be killed off, of which 59 are alder which we now understand are super-carbonators. As always, we are concerned for the canopy that’s going to be lost and the related ecosystems lost.”

“Thank you for your comments, madam,” Mayor Doug McCallum replies.

READ ALSO ZYTARUK: Surrey council has a storied history of Monday night fights

READ ALSO ZYTARUK: Canada apprenticeship incentive grants paint men only one-third worthy of help

READ ALSO ZYTARUK: Pondering the cosmic interconnectedness of things

The third, at 13 minutes, involved a proposal to build a six-storey apartment building containing 80 dwelling units. This time Cheryl Morgan, a neighbour, speaks. “There’s 33 trees on the property that all are said that they will be cut down, every single tree there,” she tells council. “There’s nothing that’s going to replace those trees – they’ll be putting like genetically modified trees there.”

“There’s nobody to speak up for the little creatures,” she says. “I agree with people who want to save the trees.”

“Thank you for your comments, madam,” Mayor Doug McCallum replies.

Surrey resident Annie Kaps also spoke to the loss of trees. “People have got to realize that’s where our oxygen comes from,” she says.

“Thank you very much for your comments,” Mayor Doug McCallum replies.

Jack is back. “On this site, 34 of 34 trees are going to be killed off, of which 23 are Douglas Fir,” she notes.

“Thank you for you comments, madam,” Mayor Doug McCallum replies.

The applicant then told council as a point of “clarification” that 67 trees will be replaced “instead of 23.”

“Thank you very much, sir,” Mayor Doug McCallum replies.

At 20 minutes into Monday’s meeting, Jack is back, trying to save shrubs from another land development proposal.

“Thank you for your comments, madam.”

At 22 minutes, yet another application, and yet another axe-tally from Jack. “Twenty-one of 39 trees are going to be killed,” she says.

“Thank you for your comments, madam.”

So what happened?

Within 90 seconds, and with no debate, all these applications received a majority of council’s approval in a rapid-fire flurry of “All in favour, against, carried.”

It’s a shame trees in this city have roots instead of legs.

Otherwise, they could run for their lives.

So let it be done.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Just Posted

Rollover crash in South Surrey

One person airlifted following incident near 40 Avenue and 160 Street

Surrey council approves modular housing projects for homeless after lengthy hearing

Vote comes after three-hour-long public hearing over supportive housing projects in Whalley, Guildford

Surrey mayor appoints his Safe Surrey Coalition to police transition committee

McCallum dissolved the city’s public safety committee last week in favour of the new committee

Another 250 units proposed for booming block in Clayton neighbourhood

New developments join list of projects popping up near new Salish Secondary, future community centre

PHOTOS: Beach day in White Rock

Summer heat brings locals and tourists to the beach

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

Hazmat incident closes down Lower Mainland street

One person is believed to be dead, police said

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Family of missing B.C. senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

Unsealed record suggests U.S. man convicted of murdering Vancouver Island couple left DNA on zip tie in 1987

William Talbott is set to be sentenced Wednesday in the murders of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

Pride flags stolen from Lower Mainland church

Went missing sometime Friday night, says Maple Ridge reverend

25 new wheelchair-accessible cabins open at Cultus Lake Provincial Park

Maple Bay Campground is now home to 25 new wheelchair friendly cabins, a first for BC Parks

Most Read

l -->