Douglas Brown says the City of Surrey should show flexibility and allow him to remove one tree from his backyard. (Aaron Hinks photo)

Resident’s application to remove tree denied

Douglas Brown says Surrey should grant permission in light of recent Hawthorne Park clear cutting

In light of the recent clearcut of a section of Hawthorne Park to make way for a connector road, South Surrey resident Douglas Brown says the city should show flexibility when it comes to his request to remove a tree from his property.

Brown first tried to have the tree removed five years ago after he attempted to sell his house. He says his house was on the market for three months but nearly every prospective buyer raised concerns with the mature tree.

“Several people said as soon as they saw the tree, no,” Brown told Peace Arch News.

The tree, which is in Brown’s backyard, sits prominently in front of his living-room window.

Brown made a second attempt to get approval last Christmas to remove the tree. However, this time in his application he told the City of Surrey he would replace the tree with a number of trees on city property. He said he would allow the city to determine how many trees should be replanted.

Brown said the city denied his request because the tree is no danger to his house, and that the city did not make note of his offer to replant trees in lieu of approval.

“I can’t approve the removal of the tree as it is still over 3m from the house and there isn’t a valid reason under the bylaw for its removal,” city tree manager Nadia Chan wrote to Brown. “The next step would be to hire an arborist to undertake a detailed tree risk assessment. Then I can review the application again.

“The City Arborist who does the assessment of the tree is looking for any defect or area of concern with the tree. They only do this from the ground as we don’t have the ability to do aerial (climbing) assessments of trees.”

Brown sent a followup email to the city, he said, asking for their position on his proposed deal. He said the city has yet to respond.

PAN was unable to connect with Chan for further comment.

Brown, who turns 90 years old this month, says he wants to sell his house in order to downsize.

“They have a tree policy, I appreciate the tree policy,” Brown said, adding that he feels the city should evaluate the circumstances on a case-by-case basis.

Last month, the city cut down approximately 450 trees in preparation for a road through the Hawthorne Park green space. The roadway is a part of the City of Surrey’s 105 Avenue Connector project.

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