LETTER: We can do much better job of being prepared in Surrey

We can’t do much about inclement weather, but we can certainly do a much better job of preparing ourselves for its consequences.

A few days after having power restored

The Editor,

Re: “A windy wake-up call,” the Now, Sept. 3.

Welcome to another season of violent windstorms.

The first arrived three months ahead of schedule but with results predictably the same: major property damage, fallen trees everywhere, hundreds of businesses closed and extensive and extended power failures – in our neighbourhood for about 60 hours

With the next storms this fall and winter, we can also expect school closures and discomfort to those infirm, elderly and reliant on electricity to start their furnace.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We can’t do much about inclement weather, but we can certainly do a much better job of preparing ourselves for its consequences.

Much of the problem, as we all know, is caused by fallen branches and toppled trees. Trees grow taller and older every year, but they don’t live forever. Newton’s law still applies, and what goes up must eventually come down.

Surrey’s solution to power line rights-of-way is to cut tunnels through the tree canopy. The fact that a ton or more of branches may be left above the power line, just waiting for the next storm, is of no consequence. For their part, property owners are advised that any tree over 12 inches in diameter but located more than one meter from the foundation cannot be cut down, no matter its height.

In all this, Surrey city hall is contributing significantly to the problem as a result of its inane and inflexible tree bylaw. So here are a few suggestions:

  • Allow BC Hydro to do the sensible thing and remove all tall native trees adjacent to local power lines and replace them with species more appropriate and less brittle.
  • All tall native trees on rights-of-way adjacent to city streets should be replaced as above, the worst offenders being firs, cottonwoods, big leaf maples and alders.
  • Give property owners a little slack and allow them to remove any tall tree they believe a danger to the safety of their loved ones and property. A recommended minimum safe distance from both house and incoming overhead power lines for a 30-metre tree might be perhaps 10 or 15 metres, but certainly more than three.

Chris Hodgson, Surrey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fate of five-district policing model in Surrey rests with new police board

Whalley/City Centre, Guildford/Fleetwood, Newton, Cloverdale, and South Surrey districts formed under McCallum’s watch in 1998

Guilty plea withdrawn in West Kelowna murder trial

Tejwant Danjou’s application to have his impromptu guilty plea removed was accepted by the court

Notorious South Surrey fugitive captured in California to face murder trial in Canada

Brandon Nathan Teixeira submitted to extradition during court proceedings Thursday in Sacramento

Lord Tweedsmuir cheers its way to top ten finish

Cloverdale school placed ninth at cheerleading competition in Florida

Dubai-based company buys Fraser Surrey Docks

Company also has ports and terminals in Vancouver, Nanaimo, Prince Rupert

Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Rio Tinto sign a historic agreement

Co-operation crucial to stem dropping Nechako Reservoir level

Hundreds of B.C. firefighters ‘climb the wall’ for BC Lung Association

The charity fundraiser saw participants climbing up 48 storeys

Stories of sexual assault at B.C. tree planting camps ‘shocking but not surprising:’ advocate

Contractors’ association is working with trainers to create respectful culture

Lawyer gets house arrest for possessing child porn

Maple Ridge resident gets nine-month term

Police renew appeal in help finding missing Maple Ridge woman after vehicle found

Ridge Meadows RCMP released a new photo showing the missing woman walking east on Dewdney Trunk Road

Canada prepared to monitor for community spread of COVID-19: Tam

The U.S. confirmed one case of the new coronavirus, or COVID-19, in California Thursday

Decade-long health care battle draws to a close today in B.C.

Dr. Brian Day began his battle a decade ago against the B.C. government

Most Read