Opponents, supporters of Langley Township tree bylaw speak to council

Councillors received a mixed response to the proposed bylaw

Langley Township council heard from more than a dozen local residents about the proposed new tree protection bylaw – with responses split between support and opposition.

Among those on the opposing side was Roland Seguin, who argued at the June 10 public hearing that it was too burdensome and costly for landowners to go through the permit application process if they needed to remove a tree.

Other opposing speakers worried about everything from the process, to rights of the homeowners, to reduction in property values as a result of the bylaw.

Those favouring the bylaw were also often critical, worrying it didn’t go far enough.

The bylaw was a good first step, according to Michelle Connerty, who expressed concerns about the size of trees that could be removed without a permit. She called for an annual review to check on the bylaw’s effectiveness.

Mitigating climate exchange is one advantage of trees, noted John Evanochko.

Some of those speaking in favour worried about the fact that some species – alder, birch, and cottonwood – are exempt from protection, as well as those with a narrow-enough trunk diamter.

The general rules set out in the bylaw include exemptions for:

• trees less than 30 centimetres in diameter at 1.4 metres from the ground

• trees for building additions and septic fields

• trees on developable lands (subject to development application review)

• trees on lands within the Agricultural Land Reserve or that can demonstrate farming activity

The Township council also received 19 written submissions on the bylaw. Both those speaking and those writing in were split between opposition and support for the bylaw, with some people suggesting changes or expressing some concerns one way or the other.

READ MORE: Tree protection bylaw up for debate

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