Letters: ‘The trees belong to all of us’

When trees are cut down, it it doesn’t just affect that little square of earth.

Editor, The News:

Re: Maple Ridge could be beautiful place (The News, Feb. 7).

I would like to lend my support to the sentiments expressed by Allen Lees in this article about tree cutting in Maple Ridge.

I really think it is time that we, as a society and district, started looking at our trees, as many do, as a collective resource that belongs to all of us, as it benefits all of us, rather than strictly private property for the ‘owner’ to do with as he or she pleases.

When the district, or individual property owners, cut down or mutilate trees, especially mature ones, it doesn’t just affect that little square of earth; it changes views, reduces privacy, reduces wildlife habitat, affects groundwater, removes the cooling effect of shade.

This changes the neighbourhood, and therefore, the neighbourhood should have a say.

The district should implement a tree protection bylaw as soon as possible to prevent the further unwarranted destruction of the very reason many people find Maple Ridge so attractive –  our abundance of trees.

And this bylaw should include language that prohibits the mutilation of trees, as well as the cutting down of trees, unless a certified arborist has deemed the trees to be dangerous, diseased or otherwise unviable in their current state.

Mutilating a tree by the now-discredited practice of topping or other severe trimming will pretty much guarantee the tree will not thrive and will need to be cut down anyway.

It also negatively affects property values and quality of life to have a mutilated tree looming over the neighbourhood.

The comment by Chuck Goddard, that the district could somehow be liable if a protected tree causes damage, is frustrating.

How have so many other cities been able to successfully protect their trees without this liability problem?

Has there been any research done on any other successful tree protection bylaws?

Let’s just follow best practices of so many other cities; we don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

Yani Mitchell

Maple Ridge