Letters: ‘Thanks for new tree bylaw’

I was very concerned when Maple Ridge council started its push for a tree bylaw.

Editor, The News:

Re: Lots of say on new tree bylaw (The News, Nov. 20).

Thank you to Maple Ridge council, and staff members Rod Stott and Christine Carter, for what appears to be a very balanced and reasonable approach to the tree bylaw issue.

I was very concerned when Maple Ridge council started its push for a tree bylaw.

After a few enquiries, I realized that council was reacting to repeated complaints from a select few individuals.

I had two main concerns.

One, the tree issue is about emotion and aesthetics versus basic property rights and individual choice.

Two, I did not want a bylaw that enabled complainers to mind their neighbors’ business.

If homeowners want to change their landscaping, or remove a tree that has killed their grass, rotted their roof, filled their gutters with needles or leaves, or wants to open their yard up to more light (especially in winter), or simply wants to regain their view from a tree that has become too large, then they should have a realistic expectation of being able to do so.

Responsible neighbors would be appreciative of their years of enjoyment, and understanding of the desire for change.

In rural areas, where homeowners have lived sustainable lifestyles within their green spaces, they should be entitled to continue to do so.

I have planted hundreds of trees on my property, knowing that I would be cutting some down as necessary.

I am opposed to the idea that some urban dweller, on tiny or nonexistent green space, should dictate terms for the rest of rural Maple Ridge, much less their urban neighbors.

Education: trees are not a carbon Sink.

Photosynthesis and decomposition are exactly opposite, or balancing processes.

Do not believe what you hear from envirocrats and scienocrats, who are mainly concerned with contributions, or funding.

Believe the science: look up the chemical equations for photosynthesis and decomposition yourself.

The former takes CO2 from the air utilizes the carbon to build the tree, and releases oxygen as a byproduct.

When the leaves or needles fall off, and as trees die, they rot. This decomposition process takes oxygen out of the air and returns CO2 as a byproduct.

If the debris piles up too high, it rots without access to oxygen, and produces the much scarier methane.

Satellite images show a lot of methane coming out of old growth forests.

When a tree is logged and cut up into lumber that is utilized in a building, it becomes stored carbon because it is preserved and doesn’t undergo decomposition.

Utilized lumber could actually be considered a carbon sink.

New trees can then be grown to continue the photosynthesis-oxygen producing process.

We need to make informed choices, not emotional  ones.

“Scientists say … ” is not an informed opinion.

Again, I thank council, and the above staff, for the thorough consideration given to this bylaw issue, to basic property rights, and for not reacting in the knee-jerk fashion that so many other municipalities have.

Cam Gould

Maple Ridge